From hunger to cruelty

February 2nd, 2004 § Nine comments

Chances are you’ve read William Carlos Williams’s plum-eating poem, but you probably haven’t seen these wicked variations on it.

These links are from an excellent piece by Teresa Nielsen Hayden about publishers’s rejection letters. If you think you might submit a manuscript of any kind anywhere, ever, for any reason, go read it.

Nine comments

  • schoomer says:

    How about a rejection letter sent to Gertrude Stein?
    “Having only one life, I cannot read your MS three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.”
    However, Thank You for Your Interest

  • dumptruck says:

    I’ve never gotten a rejection letter from a publisher (because I’m not a writer, not because they only send me acceptance letters). My problem is with graduate school rejection letters, specifically the line about there being “many qualified applicants.” I felt that the next part of the sentence should really be “but you were not one of them,” or, “so why on earth would we let you in?” They didn’t say it, but I knew what they meant.

  • Dumptruck says:

    One more thing:
    A recent topic of debate in my house has been whether the plum poem is about sex. Maybe readers (afficionados? groupies? followers?) could vote on it.

  • Jeff says:

    I was going to say that I don’t think it’s about sex, because if it were, the person who possessed the plums, whatever exactly they might represent, would know they had been taken. But then it occurred to me that the possessor of the plums might not be the person to whom the poem is directed.
    Now I don’t know what to think.

  • Christine says:

    Hee, having been a Good English Major (TM) I’m familiar with both. The Williams poem was posted on the fridge at the UCB Stebbins co-op… and my friend Kendra ( did her thesis on Kenneth Koch…

  • Jeff says:

    Okay, Good English Major: Is the poem about sex or not?

  • Christine says:

    I’ve never thought so?

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s probably about Jeff’s pants?!

  • Cdawg says:

    -posted my Cdawg

What’s this?

You are currently reading From hunger to cruelty at pinchy dot org.