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Home » Poetry & Quirky ThingsFebruary 2005 » Rejected!


McSweeney’s didn’t select my Red Sox sestina for publication on their website. I think I was too earnest by half and didn’t tinge it with enough irony.

Hello [Name Deleted to Protect the Inept Sestina Writer] --

ThumbsdownThanks for sending this and letting us read it. I’d love to run a BoSox sestina, and yours is definitely skilled and uses the form well, but it just misses being right for the section. So we’ll have to pass. I’m sure this will find a home elsewhere. Do send more sestinas if the moment strikes you.

[Name Delected to Protect the Inept Sestina Writer Pointer-Outer]
Assistant Web Editor for Sestinas

“Moment”? It took me three days to write. Not a solid three days, but I just got sick of looking at the same six words and thinking of novels ways to use them.

Update: I wrote to NDtPtISWP-O to find out where I strayed.


Thanks for the feedback. If you have any specific criticisms or suggestions you could pass on, I’d appreciate it. I’m always looking to strengthen myself as a writer.

[Inept Yet Insistent Sestina Writer]

I then received the following response:

[Inept Yet Insistent Sestina Writer] --

No specific criticisms -- the higher-ups -- and this is just a guess -- may not have wanted to go with another baseball sestina. We had a St. Louis one before. This is just a guess. They never tell me. But do know it was one of my picks, that I presented. Send more if you have ’em!

Assistant Web Editor for Sestinas

I did a quick read of the Cardinals poem, and I don’t think the author actually followed the sestina format correctly. In the final stanza, she doesn’t use the proper word repetition pattern. Also, it isn’t recommended to use ending words that rhyme. Like all redbird fans, she got by with sheer enthusiasm and pom pom waving. She actually writes this: “Lord, does Cardinal Nation love baseball.”

They might have won the McSweeney’s Sestina battle, but we know who won the war. Still, I don’t like knowing that there is one baseball sestina on the site, and that the poem is dedicated to that St. Louis team. I plan to write another.


This keeps getting more interesting. "NDtPtISWP-O," ha ha. Too bad about this injustice, but the whole thing does prove one point. Last March-ish, (Smarch?) I blogged about a book I read, in which the author says the two most knowledgable groups of female baseball fans are Sox fans and Cardinal fans. And look what we have here: Two people, not just writing about their teams, but writing about them in a near-impossible style of poem. And who are they? A Sox fan and a Redbirds fan, both female.

Anyway, hope they realize they should be publishing you soon.

Bahh who needs them? If they can't appreciate a sestina like yours, then they just suck at life

Thanks for the encouragement, folks.

Not to dwell, but the thing that gets me is that the Cardinals sestina isn't entirely correct in format. True, mine takes some liberties as well because I added titles to the stanzas. I did so to aid non-baseball fans.

I also thought my poem was a nice response to hers, although I didn't know of its existence before I wrote mine.

Ah, well. Time to start on the next one.

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