Benedict's '04 Work Published in Literary Magazines
English Teacher Evan Benedict ’04 had a goal: To get 100 rejections.
Yet, that was only a piece of his journey. He was on a mission to have his poetry published.
“I set out to get 100 rejections,” he said. “I managed to get a bunch of acceptances and was stunned.” His poem, “Seven Ways of Being Open,” was recently published in “Silver Rose Magazine” and “Wild Roof Journal.”
Benedict, who admits that writing poetry is a challenge for his verbose nature, said he’s drawn to poetry for its conciseness and how one must artfully use words.
But why poetry?
“It’s hard to read fiction or poetry from authors you admire and not want to write,” he said. However, poetry has been a great way for him to process emotions, memories and fear while also dialing into the joy that he gets from its artful use of language and how densely packed the words can be.
“It’s very performative and sound based,” he said of poetry. “It’s that performative aspect of my personality that draws me in.”
The process begins with him free writing until he finds a theme that he likes. He builds on the theme and plays with the words until he feels it’s complete…or as complete as it can be. He also utilizes the services of the Muse Center in Norfolk.
“When I started writing ‘Seven Ways of Being Open’” I started thinking about all the ways I could open up myself this year,” he said. “I don’t often do a poem like this with structure. ”
The whole experience and now being a published author has been incredible for Benedict.
“The idea that someone would read my poetry and be like ‘yeah,’ is bonkers to me,” he said. “But since May, I’ve had four acceptances.” He also shares his journey with his students and keeps a spreadsheet of his submissions, rejections and acceptances to encourage students to continue to strive for their goals.
“Creative writing is a horrifying game,” he said. “Getting published is a nightmare because you face rejection.” However, “it’s good to steel yourself against that rejection. You’ll face it a lot. If people are encouraging you to keep at it and keep writing, you should. That still meant something to me and brought me comfort. Worrying has enabled me to voice my more difficult feelings. It’s been a healthy process.”