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Poet Misreads Instructions; Accidentally Submits Piece Containing Only Personally Identifying Inform

By Yong-Yu Huang, Eva Zheng, and Neeraja Kumar


WARNING: This piece is a work of fiction. Please do not include identifying information if you happen to submit to Polyphony Lit. If an incident like this occurs, the unfortunate editor should immediately contact Billy or whoever forwarded them the piece and wait for further instructions.

Another day logging into the Polyphony Lit submission manager. A Poem? Interesting…………

My name is Mary Ann Beth

I turned 15 yesterday,

I think my friends, Joshua, Sofia, and Diara forgot about

It. Or they misread the card’s address,

the one which my grandparents passed

On to my parents, the red

House with a single window

On 147 Maple Street, near the playground

Where Joshua, Sofia, and Diara played

Tag with me

A long time ago.

So I wore my favourite purple hoodie

With its uneven white strings

And plopped down in front of

My rose-gold 2016 macbook ,

Opened an empty Google Doc

Wishing my dog Kitty

Who died last week

Was here with me.

I cried.


Do they expect me to mail them a belated birthday gift and tell them that they should find themselves better friends? Like me? Ha!

Are they even real? Is this a prank? Should I pull a James Veitch and prank them back? Am I good enough for that?

First Reader’s Comments

Specific Commentary:

S1, L6-7: Wow! I love the compelling imagery here. You included great sensory details by describing the vivid color of the house (“red”) and the decorations that adorn the house (“a single window”).

S2, L4: The juxtaposition between the species of your pet (a dog) and the name of your pet (a cat) brings a subtle touch of humor before we learn about it's unfortunate demise.

S3, L1: This lone stanza contrasts with the previous longer ones to bring a somber mood. It allows the reader to pause and take in the events that just occurred. These two words provide the perfect ending to such a personal piece.

General Commentary:

Thank you for submitting to Polyphony Lit! Firstly, I suggest that you work on your speed reading abilities so that you are able to comprehend what you speed read, especially if it is the submission guidelines for a literary magazine that you are submitting to. Secondly, I am so sorry about your dog. While reading those heart touching stanzas, I started sobbing uncontrollably. I hope that he/she may rest in a canine peace. However, I would suggest that you start pinning down your ideas for your poems, and finding out exactly what you want to convey to the reader. Then, you can use those more concrete ideas and a variety of thought out techniques in order to form a lasting impression on the reader. Finally, thank you for including all your personal information in your poem. It really helped ground the reader in the poem and create even more sympathy, knowing that the speaker is a real person with a real name, real friends, and real grandparents. How touching! The way you defied all Internet safety rules in pursuit of your art is commendable. I wish all writers were willing to make this sacrifice. It truly shows how committed you are because not a lot of people would be willing to risk their personal safety and privacy for their poetry. Honestly, I was impressed. Again, thank you so much for submitting to Polyphony Lit, and we can’t wait to hear from you again (hopefully with less personal information).

Rationale for Reject

Don’t even bother to read the piece. It’s a hoax. Also, someone should probably censor this piece just in case it falls into the wrong hands. We can’t take a lawsuit for breach of personal privacy.


Yong-Yu Huang is a First Reader at Polyphony Lit and and a blogger at Voices.

Eva Zheng is a First Reader at Polyphony Lit and and a blogger at Voices.

Neeraja Kumar is a Second Reader at Polyphony Lit and and a blogger at Voices.

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