Over the years, my students have asked many good questions. Here are some answers to a few of those questions, grouped into categories.
POETRY & POETICS: GENERAL EDUCATION & POEM ACCESS
Q: If poetry thrills me and I want more, what are some good learning resources?
A: The following will provide hours (years?) of knowledge:
- Poetry Foundation houses thousands of poems, contemporary and classic, as well as podcasts & videos about poetry, such as the Ars Poetica project.
- Poets.org is the website of the Academy of American Poets, which gives awards & honors to poets and houses thousands of poems online. They also have educational resources, such as those on Poetic Forms: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/collection/poetic-forms, & a Poetry Glossary: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetry-glossary
- Washington State has a Poet Laureate Program, sponsored by Humanities Washington & ArtsWA. Check it out. Rena Priest is Washington’s current PL.
- Poetry Daily hosts a new poem every day.
- Redactions Poetry hosts great resources.
Q: What if I want to read/hear poets talk specifically about their CRAFT?
A: THE ABOVE resources, as well as the following:
- How a Poem Happens features contemporary poets discussing the craft of poetry, focusing specifically on one of their own poems.
- First Book Interviews is exactly what it sounds like: poets discussing their first books. . . This blog by Keith Montesanto continued a project originally begun by Kate Greenstreet, called “Every Other Day.”
- Willow Springs Magazine has a great archive of interviews with poets, fiction writers, and essayists.
Q: I’m revising my poems. How do I learn more about ways to go about that?
A: Here are a few resources ON REVISION:
Q: I’m working on putting together a MANUSCRIPT. Any tips?
A: There is not single right way to organize a manuscript–it should match your content/ goals!, but if it’s in poetry, I recommend checking out the gorgeously organized first books by Eduardo Corral (SLOW LIGHTNING), Kim Addonizio (THE PHILOSOPHER’S CLUB), and/or the book you admire most, or ones that most closely resemble the genre in which you are working. Map how it is laid out and consider if your work would fit into a similar arrangement/pattern, or not? There are also these resources:
- Former Tupelo Press Editor Jeffrey Levine wrote a column a few years ago called “On Making the Poetry Manuscript.”
- Then there’s also this thoughtful post about it by poet Susan Rich.
Q: I love listening to poets read. Where/how can I do that?
A: Here are some great resources for POETRY AUDIO:
- I love visiting Linebreak.org to hear poets reading other poets’ poems.
- From the Fishouse, an audio archive of emerging poets, houses recordings of poets reading their own work.
- Poetry Out Loud, the National Recitation Project, has a website that houses tons of resources, including audio recordings, tips for recitation, & etc.
- This is related to Poetry 180, which is a resource, curated by former U.S. PL Billy Collins, for educators.
- New Ohio Review has an audio feature you might check out.
- The Favorite Poem project hosts contemporary poets saying poems they love.
- Button Poetry host an array of poets reading their work–plus video!
Q: I’m interested in learning more about TRANSLATION. What do you recommend?
A: The following host resources related to translation:
(Check out this really great podcast with one of their contributors, Jorge Vessel, on “That Which is Found and Gained Through Translation.”)
–Necessary Fiction keeps a “Translation Notes” section!
-Copper Nickel often publishes a translation folio.
-On the Seawall hosts works in translation.
Begin by reading books/works in translation and then searching their notes section for influence.
(more to come!)
GENRE BLUR/ NONFICTION, ADDING SCIENCE TO YOUR WORK
Q: What about resources for Creative Nonfiction or even just weird research for hybrid work?
A: All of the following . . .
- Brevity: a Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction has been publishing high quality creative nonfiction pieces 750 words or less for nearly two decades.
- Fourth Genre is a magazine of contemporary creative nonfiction worth checking out.
- Check out the magazine CREATIVE NONFICTION, edited by Lee Gutkind.
- One of the coolest things on the internet (IMHO) is Public Domain Review.
- Scientific American is as good a place as any to start if you want to write sciencey poems & prose shorts.
- Ubuweb is an eclectic resource in underground avant-garde information & art resources.
- The Internet Archive hosts a realm of resources for free on the web.
Q: I LOVE writing but can never get started. Where can I get FREE WRITING PROMPTS?
- I post (semi) regular prompts to my website.
- Poets & Writers Magazine hosts “The Time is Now,” free prompts in the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
PUBLISHING RESOURCES & OTHER MISC. STUFF
Q: I want to send my work out for publication. Where do I begin?
A: The following websites share calls for submissions/ lists of places that publish:
- Newpages–a resource for navigating publishing opportunities
- Poets & Writers–the online companion to the magazine
- The Association of Writers & Writing Programs, AWP, is the largest organization of its kind.
- Trish Hopkinson keeps a blog of poetry resources & calls for submissions. She often focuses on journals that don’t charge a submission fee.
- Assay Journal has a whole database of calls for things that are academic, including grantwriting, writing reviews, etc.
- Here are a handful of specific places that might be receptive to beginners’ work:
Q: What if I want to publish reviews?
A: Journals/sites with active reviewing:
LA Review of Books,
The Missouri Review,
Ecotheo (accepts reviews of works that are older),
Crab Creek Review (micro reviews < 500 words)
A FEW TIPS ON READYING YOUR WORK FOR SUBMISSION
Most magazines will have specific guidelines, but often, you’ll want to prepare a submission packet of 3-5 poems. It often helps if these poems “talk to” each other–that is, if they have some thread that connects them. However, it’s also totally fine if your poems are unrelated. You’ll want to write a short, third-person bio (unless the publication requests something else). You can see an example of such a bio by reading the contributor notes in a recent issue of the journal to which you’re submitting. Your cover letter should be brief; address the editors by name if possible, and if you have read their journal before, you might say something like “I admire [journal name] and particularly enjoyed work by [author name] in the latest issue.” Proof your submission for typos & errors; you improve your ethos with a clean submission. Also: hope for acceptance, but don’t get down if your work is rejected! Rejection just tells you to keep working and improving, keep reading poets you admire, keep noticing things in the world and making it new on the page.
WANT TO STUDY with other STUDENTS? HERE ARE A FEW ROUTES TO INFORMATION ABOUT FORMAL & SEMI-FORMAL ROUTES:
AWP’s Guide to Writing Programs: https://www.awpwriter.org/programs_conferences/guide_writing_programs
MFA Programs via PW list: http://www.pw.org/mfa
Conferences & residency programs: http://www.pw.org/conferences_and_residencies