Author: shaun belcher (Page 1 of 18)

Poet, painter and songwriter originally from Oxfordshire now living in Nottingham.

I Wanna Be Rejected: MAY 2024


A glutton for punishment I continue to prove that I am the

UK’s Most Ignored Poet or UKMIP.

So far I have applied to approx 36 Magazines since January 1st and the score is
Magazines 36 – Shaun Belcher Acceptances 0

Putting me well ahead in the Britain’s Got No Poets Celebrity Write Off Final

To be honest I cannot be fucking bothered any more being a poet seems to be pretty much bullshit these days…..

Interpreter’s House – STILL OPEN MAY

Fiction and poetry submission windows for October issues are open 1 April – 14 May inclusive.

Under the Radar  –  OPENING on May 1st

Poetry Ireland Review :

Submittable full April re-opens May

Shooter –  Theme: Nightlife   (print) CLOSING 15 MAY
Emerge Literary Journal    (online) CLOSING 20 MAY
Modern Poetry in Translation  XXX (I don’t do translation) Theme: dissent and resistance   (print)


Crannóg      print(?)
Strix     (print)
Anomaly Literary Journal    (online)
Carmen et Error   (online)
Green Ink Poetry   (online)
Leon Literary Review  (online)

NB OPEN 15 – 29 MAY:
The Stinging Fly    (print)

#NaPoWriMo WTF

I had never heard of this acronym until my mate and fellow poet Neil Fulwood revealed it to me and a poem (pretty damn good one) too.

Basically the UK Poetry Society being about ten years behind evrybody else has copped a write a poem every day in April meme from the rest of the world. (figures totally). They then have haphazardly and with their usual acumen and professionalism spread it about half-heartedly on the web.

Brewery / piss up meme….

So being a cynical pensioner with time on hands I thought I would give it a bash and here the first two results. ( I one behind the daily upload and I ignoring all prompts except Moniza Alvi’s as she a good poet and I know her brother).



New Policy no USA and Canada mags reduces overall numbers and frankly wasting time.

Here’s this month’s chicken head on the chopping block list…after vetting left with very few opportunities

  1. London Grip – Three poems XXX (see below)
    Moon Turned Dark, Houses on the Horizon and Mallory’s Camera
  2. Briefly Write – two 16 line poems
    Working on a building of love, London Calling

London Grip: XXX

Been asked to re-submit a poem here for June issue so will do my best to write or find two other poems to go with it. Then this within one hour of submitting and 4 hours BEFORE deadline and apparently forgetting asked me to resubmit a poem ..

I have been rejected in a frankly bizarre message which states that despite a ‘very good poem ‘ (only bit he got right) I am at fault for not being on message with a theme which only arises when said theme occurs to the editor in process of editing. This duly increases control of said editor many times and makes him look even more god-like ( Or Emiritrus Professor ) in his position than he already considers himself. Oh magazine badly designed looks 20 years out of date and basically a soap-box for his own agrandisement.

Sometimes I grow tired of poets…especially arrogant incompetent ones.
This destination is permanently shelved in fucking useless box….oh and if want to complain about this content go ahead I will take piss even more ..

Still didn’t waste three very good poems on a shit magazine so every cloud has a silver lining.

Frogmore Papers : X
Post only which is sweet and as I was accepted via post in 1990s by I believe the same person (nowt else them days) I suppose not so bad I missed the post date totally….

Oxford Poetry
Another blast from the past although it didn’t charge me £3.50 or more last time (1993). Therefore ignored this time if wish to see more about the magazine the Submittable portal shows this

Amsterdam Quaterly : X

Theme Vibrations……I hate theme bollocks and I do not vibrate…

Beaver Magazine X (USA)
Unfortunate name…Seems to be USA based but could be Canada hard to tell. Good use of wordpress looks good.

Briefly Write
UK -based clear guidelines looks OK. Look like care and not just doing what they told post CW MA as so many do. Also have some idea about design.

Consilience : X

Now closed just as well mind-numbingly complicated process I know science related but need a degree?
Issue 17 is now closed for submissions of both poetry and artwork.

Empty House
Press X (USA)

OK allow simultaneous hard to judge magazine natural world emphasis in photographs. USA based. Out as USA cannot be arsed.

Porridge XXX
UK soley Post Creative Writing degree group so fairly young
ALL female editors.
There are NO men in art section which frankly pretty awful hence no I shall not bother is a club for females ( trans )only.
Put it on your masthead then…

I found a male name on a poem BUT it Trans about becoming a butterfly..oh dear…

If it Porridge it full of pink and sparkly bits really….

The Shore: XXX (USA)
USA based I think slightly older than fresh faced grads use of images worrying. Use of sea pictures always suggest Suffolk middle-class to me. OH USA based fresh-faced grads who probably like to live in Norfolk. Career building so give it a miss too…it incresingly easy to spot banged together magazines wiht poor graphics set up to publish people’s mates under ‘international’ signage. (USA)

Oh dear more new grads shit…their submission guidelines hoorendous arrogant shit to be honest was put off before even finished reading ..

CAREERIST nowt else likes to boast about how well it doing bet actual poetry fucking awful. They wouldn’t know art or good design if it ran them over…

Spellbinder was founded in 2020 by a group of students based in England, who had first met at the Durham University Creative Writing Society.  How nicey middle-class. File by Porridge I hate these kind of fake magazines.


So Obscura hard to tell if real or a names and an identity taken from free theme sources online…its first anthology focusses on BLUE

that it I out….


Phew a proper magazine at last

Decent magazine varied content know what doing. easy to spot after a while…

How to Be Rejected ( to tune of Alice Cooper’s I wanna be Elected) Pt.2 – March – 2024

Submitting poetry to magazines these days seems to be akin to buying a lottery ticket or as I remember as a child filling in the football coupon with Xs….

Here are March Xs on the coupon…

So far the score is not good

Magazines Submitted to Jan- February- 10

Rejections – 10

However the average success rate of submission windows that run into thousands literally is below 10%…..according to the magazines themselves nice to let me examples from two replies..

We print less than 1% of the poems sent in each call,

We received a large number of submissions, only 10% of which will comprise the next edition.

So on that basis the best hit rate mathematically is 10 acceptances for every 100 mags submitted to… most in fact nearer 1% or 0ne in a hundred acceptances which says it all really..

I do only do online free submissions so at least there not the cost of stamps as in the old days.

Over a two year period 1992-4 I kept records of paper submissions.

The hit rate then was about 10 in a hundred so it looks like chances due to volume are bout one tenth of what they were in 1990s if I being optimistic my feelings is it now really about 1% of what it was ten there more poets out there now than potholes…

This because of pure numbers the increase in people self-identifying as poets has probably increased by a factor of a thousand plus.


So here we go

Current SCORE

Potential Magazines this month = 14

Actual number submitted = 7 Rejections so far = 7

Banshee X(Ireland) Instant hit as designed by someone who knows how to design a cover and it Irish..that enough to submit end of…

Firewords (Scotland) I like Scotland it produced better writers over last 100 years than England and that a self-evident truth…

London Magazine X (Poetry Prize submission £10 a poem ) No I do not pay to enter anything …too mean and too sensible. They rejected me politely last month for a free submission I do not need to pay to be rejected when I can get it for free…free market economics..

Magma X (Themed ‘Grassroots’ not a good theme ) Very worthy but I don’t write social work poems….or do therapy worksops…or save whales very often..I do what I can and like most sane people bemoan the mess the Tories have made of these islands…

Shearsman X
By the time you read through the fairly arrogant tosh that the editor throws at you you pretty much feel like torching the whole thing. Oh and if they have to tell you they publish more women now it says it all really…

Also the editor handily tells you that nobody gets published until they have evidence of a period of being published thereby establishing a fan base to sell the fucking things ( although 99% of all poetry sells fuck all..) which happened with my Salt pamphlet which contained 20 years of published poems and sold 62 copies.

So cheers at present rejection rate I be six feet under long before I have the smattering of published poems required. Which why I self-publish and say bollocks to that system….submitting is a fun game nothing more and there some good stuff out there just have to dig deep.

OneArt (usa) XXXXX

Cool faux pop art look even cooler response times which makes me suspicious. Overall design lacking is basic at best suggests grad student building own profile job. Ha not even that actually quite an operator and CV builder on own. This mag is pretty fake and a prop to his ambitions basically…..not unlike a few similar people this side of the pond.

Response within 24 hours was a stone cold auto-respond so suspect he (not they) read bio do not read work . Ah checked all their recently accepted work and yup Bio derived acceptances or they just so good at picking every acceptance with a good bio..ha ha ha wonder they turn around so fast . Not a single poet (80% female by the way but that could just be state of play right now as no overt feminist flags) on their acceptance list had less than a fully developed CV .

Oh and he can help you be a better poet..indeed…
For that to be the case we have to look at his work
These three poems by ********** explore the subjective nature of reality…
I not going to present here but what follows are three pretty awful poems which figures…..made me laugh out loud.

I will not be troubling OneArt again …good thing is can dismiss as crap quickly and re-purpose to somewhere half decent instead 🙂

Full House Literary X

Very nice personalised reply good people to do business with will certainly send again in future.

Trans Non Binary friendly young guns mag part of Bad Betty/Broken Sleep wokeism. Terribly twee but then a generation that never worked and spends time networking has never really got its hands dirty. Closer to modern music than poetry as I knew it but that not such a bad thing. Submitted but would never expect to be published as for them it like trying to comprehend their grandfather’s point of view but then some grandfathers are still cool like Patti Smith ..


Stone of Madness Press X
is a physical [online] and conceptual space for queer, trans, and neurodiverse writers. I not in that tribe but a clear masthead and purpose again thank you for clarity and all the best.

Swim Press X
is an independent publisher and magazine
established in 2021 by a group of four Lancaster University
friends. (clarity and honesty well done).

All women editors so probably slanted toward feminist perspective.

It reminded me of a Creative Writing course I walked away from where too many sublimated sexual desire stories being written by young women to be healthy ( Wolves tore my clothes etc)..whilst amusing I not going to send any such story to a theme of ‘Desire’ but all best…from small acorns mighty oaks grow could be new generation Virago in 10 years so don’t knock em..

Muleskinner Press X

Despite my kind words a kindly worded rejection which did not appear to auto-respond will try again.

Made me laugh which not a bad thing these days and so American it could be an Americana music journal even the name….submitted three ‘reckless’ i.e. unpublishable anywhere else pieces that maybe the Yanks get but probably not…the best editorial CVs I seen in a while and a fucking relief after wading through the usual BMCC stuff * (British Middle Class Cosy). What the hell they will make of me god knows but hell they got Trump to deal with..I should be easy 🙂

Thimble literary Online X

Same as above not much of a reply but not stupid or asking fro money which a bonuds these days woudl consider again.

Well designed know what doing another USA based magazine which mixes the music and art worlds into mix my kind of people…bit confused by submissions page and suspect already closed but sent them some poetry anyway. Likeably laid back submission page without the usual rigorous delineation of sending ..

Moss Puppy: XXXXX
Young uns with no sense of design values chucked together at WIX which means pretty time maybe improves but looks like thrown together by 12 year olds ..actually most 12 year olds could do better.

Really am I going to submit to something that looks like a teenager’s…even the name is Twee Crap as is the stoopid themes idea…oh and the fanart section well words fail me…they really do…makes Deviant Art look interesting.

Propel: X

Stated Ian MacMillan read submission even though submiittable says not which looks like bullshit but there you go my poems always been better then that professional northern clown anyway…who seems to be setting up a dynasty such is the power of celebrity poets they can breed themselves…can’t wait for GoggleBoxPoets

Serious stuff which a relief after last farago…(which I believe was the name of a Poetry Magazine once will have to check).

So serious I doubt I stand a chance until Faber come knocking but worth further reading and as have two days to do so will investigate further….looks very good.

Hell I even heard of some of guest editors and they are my age …its a start and maybe a small shaft of light at the end of the tunnel 🙂 Submitted all six of my father’s things poems.

I wanna be Rejected….

I’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice,
I wanna be rejected,
I’m your yankee doodle dandy in a gold Rolls Royce,
I wanna be rejected,
Kids want a savior, don’t need a fake,
I wanna be rejected,
We’re all gonna rock to the rules that I make,
I wanna be rejected,rejected,rejected.

LAST FARMER – Pamphlet 2010 : free pdf download

The Salt Modern Voices Pamphlet No. 6 which was issued as part of a Salt print on demand experiment in 2010 is no longer available and all references to book and author have been removed from the Salt website in a recent upgrade.

Chris Hamilton-Emery has moved Salt steadily towards a more fiction based list with just the occasional poetry book now. The cover painting was not my painting it part of a rights free set of a Finnish artist available to use and save costs across the series so there you go….

I asked him about all this and he told me that I had sold the glorious number of 62 copies over the last decade so it unsurprising it no longer on list and I now reside in bin 13 with quite a few others.

Whilst it was available I would only shared promotional edited versions of the book out of respect for the copious and long contract but now it officially ceased to exist I can offer to all as an Easter Egg free download.

The volume pretty much hoovered up everything I had published in small magazines up until 2010. To this day my published works ceased in 2007 with three poems in Staple magazine. So until the new stuff I sending out now gets somewhere this is all there is….the last of the Last Farmer:-)

Poetry Reviewing again after 30 years!

Back in 1996 at the height of my poetry career (in Scotland not here!) I reviewed for the great Lines Review I not seen this in years but here a John Glenday and Richard Price review.

I posting as I starting to get my pencils sharpened for some more reviewing after a break of 30 odd years.

I feel like an undercover ‘sleeper’ activated behind iron curtain in a Len Deighton novel. I have returned to Poetryland with fake ID and a Walther PPK hidden in my Jacket (Poetry ref there peeps)..just so you know

MY FATHER’S THINGS – Poems for Ivo Charles Belcher

My father as ayoung boy holding a rabbit..Long Wittenham Berkshire probably during wartime.

I produced an illustrated sequence of poems for my father in 2019. This April 13th he would have been 92 had he lived but he has been gone 20 years now.

As a tribute I have created a pdf of the sequence that was shown as a series of artworks at the King Billy.

Below a link to the free pdf download

Note on process. All typed directly on old manual typewriter. Very few mistakes or edits. One take like jazz… either got that swing or it ain’t….

DIESEL ON GRAVEL – 1986-1989 First Flash Fictions

Poems written in London and Oxfordshire. Published in early 1990s in Last Gasp pamphlets. Last Gasp was a poetry open mic I helped run with poets Giles Goodland and Bridget Kursheed in Oxford.

From 1986 I was heavily influenced by Raymond Carver and especially his book FIRES.  Indeed I attended his memorial readings event in London and saw Edmund White, Richard Ford and Salman Rushdie read in his honour.

I think this volume is the ‘lost volume’ as I was living at home in Didcot and totally cut off from literary world from 1988 until 1990.

I did do some readings through the Last Gasp group until I moved to Edinburgh in 1993.

None of these poems have been seen apart from in these hand made pamphlets.

Style note all hand written then typed on my mother’s old typewriter.

The last few pages of the document as pdf have originals and some uncollected poems.

The blue pen and line through a poem are from Giles Goodland when selecting for a pamphlet…I did not have second copies as everything had to be typed by hand …so here it is..

Diesel on Gravel…..1990

Diesel on Gravel PDF

HOW TO FAIL AT POETRY No.1 How to be Rejected Jan/Feb 2024

This is how it feels to be back on the poetry pitch….

I creating a useful guide on How to Fail at Poetry as so many seem to effortlessly succeed these days going by the drivel being pumped out by little presses invented by poet’s mates so here how to avoid all that and really fail properly.

I will soon be creating a poocast where you can learn to fail and offering workshops in a whole range of How to Fail areas including How to Fail as A Working Class Writer, How to Fail as a dreadlocked eco warrior writer and last but not least How to Fail writing about being a mother although this is by far the hardest one to fail at right now.

Two months have passed and here is the scoreline for my first batch of poetry submissions. Treated as a Football League Table where after Mag name 1 = received reply and number after my name = 0=rejected 1=accepted and P means postponed no reply yet. X = Too bad to bother submitting or demographics against me. i.e. wrong genre, sex, colour, attitude or not specifically writing about trees or animals or whatever stupid bloody theme they came up with this time….Waves, Dolphins or Feelings…

Butcher’s Dog 1 – Shaun Belcher 0
The London Magazine – 1- Shaun Belcher 0 ( I sent outwith their guidelines so not surprised but was turned down nicely)
Strix – 1 Shaun Belcher 0 Nice sense of design and probably good as from Leeds.
The North 1- Shaun Belcher-0
Allegro 10 ( so fast and rude it seemed personal) – Shaun Belcher-0
Amsterdam Quarterly 1 – Shaun Belcher 0
Bell Ombre – X (Goth Rubbish)
London Grip 1-1 – Shaun Belcher Almost 1 but 0 (suggested re-sending)
Mechanics Institute Review -X see Strix above this one a nest of academics who not overtly Goth so may be ok..missed deadline.

So January stats are Poetry Mags 7 – Shaun Belcher 0 although VAR checking for possible goal in March… that it for now…..a glorious Faber future awaits.

This month easy I only remembered to submit to one American magazine ‘Leon’ with both poetry and short story receiving the ultimate accolade of rejection in fairly prompt manner for both.
Hats off to our former colonial chums for being as rejection orientated as us Brits. They took to the trees when the redcoats came…old habits die hard.
So to date one submission as foillows

Leon 1- Shaun Belcher Poetry 0
Leon 1- Shaun Belcher Poetry 0

Nice to be rejected by same mag in two different genres makes one feel that one is offering a wider portfolio of failed material…

Rest as follows

Artemis X Wimmin Only
Pennine Platform X Total luddite why waste time setting up a submittable account when one can use a failing postal service to send your damp with rain manuscript like in olden times….for fuck sakes just close yourselves down it no longer the 1990s…
Carmen et Error XXX North east Goths hated the graphics dont have to really go past that do I…for people who think ‘Uncanny’ is a new thing..e.g. academics who bought Cure records. Ignore with venom. Only true word is Error.
Couplet XX – only couplets an easy ignore X2
The Alchemy Spoon X Missed deadline as last in list. Uses a alternative system to Submittable which I had not heard of called Duosuma? May try again when next window opens. Website confusing but they do at least keep updated and on to AI. I also not a fan of ‘themed’ issues but give them the benefit of doubt. Do provide free online issues which positive.

Green Ink Poetry X – Looks like the kind of poetry magazine a hedge monkey would have invented after a bad acid trip. Too many druids not enough reality. Julian Cope would love it…..maybe it him in disguise.

Poetry Wales X – At last fundamentally a decent magazine but oh dear what a fucking awful theme..Wave..what like the Severn Bore……..pass to druids.
I have a tendency when facing crap themes to try and twist the objective hence I was rejected once for a ‘generation’ theme by suggesting it could benefit by being about energy generation….rejected but always amuses me.

Gutter X – Gutters are useful for displacing showers of shit and this no exception looked quite good until i forgot closing date and now the website turned into a giant pink and green splodge so one for the future then ..

Stats for February

Magazines 1 – Shaun Belcher 0

Opening 1st March

The Common
Ink Sweat and Tears
The HIgh Window
The Shore

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