Recently, I experienced the rejection of my first manuscript of poems. I was crushed. Then, I stepped back and tried as objectively as I could to review the poems I had written over a ten-year span. I did some editing and also added three new poems to the collection. I have since submitted the manuscript to a new publisher whose focus is on Caribbean writing. I don't know what the outcome will be this time around, but I believe in, and stand by my work. I will continue to write poetry, regardless.
If you are an aspiring poet who has faced rejection(s), continue to write and keep the faith. Consider, for inspiration, Christian Campbell who recently won the Aldeburgh prize for best first collection, Running the Dusk, (Peepal Tree Press), which was also short-listed for the Forward prize. In his August 2010 interview with Lisa Allen-Agostini in the Caribbean Review of Books, Campbell shared how Running the Dusk was rejected by several publishers. Here is a link to the interview:
So, sometimes rejection can be a good thing, leading our collection to the right publisher at the right time. Rejection can also help us to take an objective look at our work, refining and reviewing where necessary. Don't lose hope. Continue to be passionate about your poetry!