Voices Silenced at Birth

Voices Silenced at Birth

A Poem by jacob erin-cilberto

Voices Silenced at Birth





"thank you for your submission, unfortunately, we will not be using any of your poems at this 


wrote the editor, gagging on his own laughter---

knowing the discouraged poet will feel like 

slitting his tedious throat, or blowing up his cacophonous computer

(riotous sounds of stonewalled words)


the power of the rejection,

like a discounted advance

asking to dance and getting a coldly polite

"no thank you"

(you're too short, not Robert Redford enough or 

dressed well enough to indicate status)

and your words as well, poor panhandling prosy pitiful and plain Jane


"We read your submission carefully"  ( ha ha, yes, he will believe this---)

"we get so many poems, it is impossible to publish all of them"

(chortling, as the editor thinks "i love slamming doors in their pesky little

faces---)  "oh do please submit in future, we would love to read more of your 

work" (even though we didn't actually read these, we just pretended)

and now your poetic ego is upended


and Sylvia Plath has company---she is wherever she is now, still trying to get accepted into

Frank O'Conner's short story, writing class---

her embarrassed kids grown up without a mother, one of them

unliving in the same dimension where she found her peace, at last---"Good God Almighty,

peace at last"

a damsel of tragically unfinished business----


editors have the power to elate and the power to deflate----


and some writers undevelop

as if lacking fortuitous film

they are a photo finished

in flux


critics weigh in so heavily they smother the druthers

to poem.

to live

to poem


suicide syllables

put their mouths into ego's sheet

and no morning comes,


while others gloat over their dawn coffee

never sleeping,

just keeping

would be wordsmiths


from ever becoming.






© 2017 jacob erin-cilberto

My Review

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Featured Review

I think I'd prefer to see myself in a magazine print, and save my book for self publishing for family and friends. I have letters from many years ago when I first started writing and submitting to various publishers - I even saved the letters of rejection that read - word for word - like you stated here.

Well done, Jacob. I'll be happy with being "a would be wordsmith"!

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

jacob erin-cilberto

12 Months Ago

there is no "would be" Kelly....you are such a good poet...
Kelly Scheppers

12 Months Ago

I appreciate that, Jacob. Thank you so much!


I can relate to this, sir. I can't remember when and how many articles or poems I've submitted to some literary journals (e-journals) and after waiting for a few months, received emails that what I have passed were not the ones they were looking into. Rejection is discouraging...but our passion is our great motivator.

You are a great poet, sir. Please continue writing.

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

thank you for your very kind words, Dhaye.
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I have read this and felt kinda sad. I read a few of the other reviews, and it made me think. What is a poet?
A poet is a person who crafts words together in such a way to create art. A person with not only a superb command of the language, but equips himself/herself with a vocabulary up to the task.
You, Sir, have that, and no publisher or editor can take away who you ARE! They can only choose to refuse money.
Loved your work!

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

thank you for your kind review, Tom.
So easy to make or break the spirit with just a thoughtless words or two. Most poets are too sensitive to take it well. I have faced this and it left me wondering if they have a good laugh at a poor poet's expense. Then I wonder how they got to be in such exalted positions. Facing rejection so often has put me off submitting my work though. Maybe self-publish? But they call it vanity publishing and it has its own pitfalls. I just love your thoughts here!

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

sometimes self-publishing is the only way to break through with poetry---poetry hasn't the audience .. read more

1 Year Ago

You are most welcome Mr. Jacob. Thank you for being an encouraging voice to those fledgling poets.
Oh, how well I relate. How many of those letters have I read? The euphemisms abound and no matter how they say it, the reaction is, "I am worthless. I am not really a poet. I am not worthy." Do they care? I wonder. Good one, Jacob....would be wordsmiths can never give up. Lydi**

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

yes, we can never give up...so true....thank you for understanding....
Frustrating indeed when all the hard work, effort and time is so superciliously dismissed by those who ought to know better!

Absorbing poetry Jacob, you wear your heart on your sleeve so unreservedly my friend!

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

thank you, Tom---best rejection i have got? one word actually written and in quotation marks "Nope".. read more
You speak for so many in this tragically honest poem j. "The power of the rejection"-the knife in the heart of creativity and artistic sensitivity. Suicide or out-write murder (not typo). I know this personally. Again brilliant writing, dramatic form and cadence, perfect wordage and metaphors. Kudos always.

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

and the young poetic ego, or even the old one, if inexperienced, can be assassinated pretty easily.<.. read more
Years ago I tried to be published in small press. I was published a few times. Many kind letters I received. I do understand the words and thoughts in the poem.

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

thank you, Coyote...some are kind....not all....and they can be quite dangerous...those who are not... read more
Coyote Poetry

1 Year Ago

I agree my friend and you are welcome.
Wow this is a powerful expose of the psyche of the editorial executive who in his/her tsunami of submissions fails to take people's work seriously and only selectively accepts. But so many great people have faced such rejection and yet flourished. Poets usually after death and then there are no guarantees. So well put Jacob!

Posted 1 Year Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Year Ago

yes, usually after death....so true, my friend---
funny how emily dickinson of her 1775 poems.. read more

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18 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on September 16, 2017
Last Updated on September 16, 2017


jacob erin-cilberto
jacob erin-cilberto

Carbondale, IL

Originally from Bronx, NY, I live in Carbondale, Illinois...teach English at two community colleges and have been writing and publishing poetry since 1970. Friending works two ways. If we have had .. more..


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