Rejection Letters Sent to Three Famous Artists: Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath & Kurt Vonnegut


We’ve all heard that the road to success is paved with failure. But that doesn’t make rejection any easier to swallow. What does help? Knowing that the world’s most talented people have been there, too. Every successful artist must master the art of accepting rejection. 

Sylvia Plath

At least Howard Moss, The New Yorker editor who (sort of) rejected Sylvia Plath’s Amnesiac, admitted that “Perhaps we’re being dense” in having trouble connecting the piece’s first and second sections.

Kurt Vonnegut

Award-winning novelist Kurt Vonnegut took a certain amount of pride in being rejected. In 1949, he received a letter from Edward Weeks, editor of The Atlantic Monthly, who noted that two of the samples Vonnegut had sent the magazine “have drawn commendation although neither one is quite compelling enough for final acceptance.” A framed copy of the letter hangs in Indianapolis’ Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

Andy Warhol

In 1956, Andy Warhol couldn’t give his work away. Yes, we mean that literally. On October 18th the artist received a letter from the Museum of Modern Art declining a drawing “which you so generously offered as a gift to the Museum.” Today, MoMA owns 168 of Warhol’s pieces.

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Rejection Letters Sent to Three Famous Artists: Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath & Kurt Vonnegut

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