Here's an interesting response from a well-respected journal to which I submitted poems three days ago:
Thank you for submitting your work to Meridian. While your work was carefully considered, we are unfortunately unable to accept it for publication at this time.
CAREFULLY considered? Ridiculous. How carefully could it have been given due consideration in three days?! I sent the batch of poems on October 17. I received the note on October 20. Now, of course, they might have a grudge against me. Or they might have been overwhelmed with work and this is supposed to be a form rejection.
But "carefully considered"? I picture the editor in his/her slippers and robe, sitting before the fire carefully looking over my poems and thoughtfully scratching his/her chin. To take or not? One? Several? None? Just how carefully were these poems considered, one wonders.
You have to remember, in most cases at literary journals, it's undergrads who are reading the incoming submissions. So, okay, the undergrad who happened across my submission actually read all four poems all the way through. Perhaps they even kept them around for a day and a half before deciding not to take any.
But can that really be described as "carefully considered by the editors"? For one thing, editors is plural. Could the poems have been passed around in the three days (and I'm stretching it -- it was more like two and a half days) they had possession of them.
These are not my worst poems, at least I didn't think so in sending them. I was aware of Meridian's reputation and tried to send some of my very best work. I don't think this "careful consideration" will incline me to try again, not that they encouraged that.
Just saying. Sometimes you don't really know to whom you're sending. You'd think University of Virginia would take a little more care.