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During the month of September, Black Lawrence Press author EJ Colen is on board to critique hybrid manuscripts. 

EJ Colen is a PNW-based educator, writer, and editor interested in long-form poetry, the lyric essay, literary and visual collage, and research-based approaches to storytelling and memoir. She is the author of What Weaponry, a novel in prose poems, poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Lambda Literary Award and Audre Lorde Award finalist) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies, flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake, long poem / lyric essay hybrid The Green Condition, and fiction collaboration True Ash. With more than two decades of social justice activism, EJ remains committed to centering marginalized voices in all the work that she does. Nonfiction editor at Tupelo Press and freelance editor/manuscript consultant, she teaches in the English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Departments at Western Washington University.

EJ is accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

• Short pieces up to 2 pages in length, $25

• Folios of up to 5 pieces of work, up to 7 pages in length $55

• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $225

• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $350

• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $525

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font. 

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is September 30. EJ will complete her work and respond to all participants by October 31.

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EJ Colen's Statement of Purpose

Genre is a story we tell ourselves in order to make the world understandable. Like the moon is to the east of the north star this day. Like north is north and east is east. The moon doesn’t believe in east, and the star doesn’t know what north is. It only knows its fission, which it doesn’t have a name for anyway.

This is to say, I don’t believe in genre. I believe a work stands or it falls regardless of what it’s called. The moon still there, nameless.

That is not to say there are no rules.

In the second century b.c., Terence said, “There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before.” The first rule is to make it beautiful, to push it up against some newness in presentation. Since, after all, you’re just repeating. The first rule is to bring focus into qualitative control. Where the reader looks, where the eye lingers, where the moon’s dark leaves a wet ring on the coffee table. The first rule is balance.

I read best from a surface place of enjoyment, loving the words for what they are, stung cold when they don’t perform, worse yet when a writer packs a page with loose and unnecessary sounds. Condense, condense. While I read to understand the deeper intentionality of a piece, it is the line-level urgency of communication I’m most interested in.

When constructing a whole book, the manuscript should move forward by way of narrative, concept, sound, or the building of image, accruing meaning through both intention (content) and intuition (sound).

My aesthetics are informed by ravenous reading habit, 2-4 books a week, with a focus on work that doesn’t rely on conventional means. It is my hope that by reading everything, all the secrets of language and story will unlock themselves, matrix-like before me. Writers I currently cannot live without include Maggie Nelson, Roland Barthes, John Keene, Rachel McKibbens, Carmen Machado, Gertrude Stein, Selah Saterstrom & Craig Santos Perez.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.