Aspiring poet’s rejection letter from 1928 is delightfully brutal
No one likes being rejected, especially when you receive a letter that gives your work an absolute dressing down.
Penned by Australian publisher Angus & Robertson in 1928, the letter is addressed to Frederick Charles Meyer of Katoomba, who had sent a sample of his writing to the company.
The letter was sent by Kylie Parkinson to the Twitter page Letters of Note, who posted it on Tuesday. You’d rarely come across a letter as stern, albeit eloquent as this.
“Dear Sir, no you may not send us your verses, and we will not give you the name of another publisher. We hate no rival publisher sufficiently to ask you to inflict them on him,” the letter reads.
“The specimen poem is simply awful. In fact, we have never seen worse. Yours faithfully, Angus and Robertson Ltd.”
There seems to be a good ending to this story, in that Meyer’s work ended up getting published in books like Pearls of the Blue Mountains of Australia in 1929, and one called Jewels of Mountains and Snowlines of New Zealand in 1934.
Extracts from the latter book were included in a “bad verse and awful poetry competition” held by New Zealand magazine artscape in 2001.
Meyer was labelled the “finest bad poet this country has produced,” for verses like one from “Maori Maiden”:
“I think — I understand thee well,
Rub my nose now for a spell!”
Or another one of Meyer’s, from “My Pet Dog”:
“Pluto! come here my dearest little dog,
Don’t get mixed up with every rogue,
And do not run into a fog…”
Look, at least it kinda rhymes, we guess.