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We heard Charles Rafferty read this poem at the 2003 CT Poetry Festival in New London. As publishers who use form letters of the electronic variety, we were chastened --tongue-in-cheek. We asked Charles for a copy, which he graciously provided. We suspect our readers and authors alike will be amused. --egh

Form Letter
By Charles Rafferty

We regret to say that nothing you have written
has held our interest or ever will--
so long as we both speak English. In the future
you should not consider us
a possible venue for your "poems."
Think of us as the North Korean interior,
a closet of the Kremlin--a place forbidden to all
but those with perfect passports,
big enough bribes. You should not take this last part
as encouragement. Nor should you try
submitting under a famous name
with the intention of changing it on the galleys.
We want you to know we are never
overstocked, that we clamor for the pause
that follows articulation of something we needed
but didn't know how badly
until at last it crossed our desks. Understand
that if we were dictators of a totalitarian state,
we would pour molasses into your typewriter,
we would confiscate your mailbox,
we would cripple the tips of your fingers.
We do not hope to spare your feelings
by the impersonal nature of this reply.
Several of our staff would love to point out
just how and why you suck. But that would
require effort--more, in fact,
than you put into your poems . . . Yours
was the writing we had in mind
as we copied this note ten thousand times.

"Form Letter" will be appearing in a new chapbook, titled "A Trayful of Brimming Martinis." It should be out within a few weeks.

© Copyright 2003, Charles Rafferty, All Rights Reserved.

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Document last modified on: 02/10/2004

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