It doesn’t get any easier. Expectations and hopes are hard to avoid – I mean, if you don’t either hope or expect to be published, why bother submitting, right?
Poetry in a void is unsatisfactory. To an extent I assuage this empty place with self publishing, but it is a bit like auto-sexuality. Not that there is anything wrong with gratifying yourself. It can be an important release. Nevertheless one feels strongly the pull toward some kind of external validation, sometime, someday. Sigh.
Yet the poet must be grateful for an audience of any size. If my friend is interested in reading my poem, I am grateful, even if she is the only person interested in reading my poem. If sometimes at an open reading I can see in someone’s face or hear an “ahh” or a finger snap inspired by my work, how can I feel anything but joy?
Yes, I must keep these rejections in perspective. As an editor, I have to reject some of the submissions I receive. It comes with the territory. I am grateful that I know what rejection feels like. Because I know this feeling, I never reject anyone’s work lightly.