Ends on

During the month of September, Black Lawrence Press author Michal 'MJ' Jones is on board to critique poetry manuscripts.

Michal ‘MJ’ Jones is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet & parent in Richmond, CA. Their poems have appeared in Anomaly, Kissing Dynamite, TriQuarterly Review, & wildness. Often addressing the troubling and haunting aspects of life, violence, and identity, MJ’s work blends the lyrical, documentary, and confessional modes. MJ serves as the Editor-In-Chief of Foglifter Press, a premier journal publishing trans and queer writers. They have received fellowships from Lambda Literary, Hurston/Wright Foundation, VONA/Voices, & Kearny Street Workshop. They received their MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry from Mills College, where they received the distinguished Community Engagement Fellowship. They founded & currently facilitate Litany!, a monthly workshop for a cohort of Black queer poets. They have a debut full-length poetry collection HOOD VACATIONS from Black Lawrence Press, and a chapbook, SOFT ARMOR, from Nomadic Press, both forthcoming in 2023.

MJ is accepting single poems, folios, chapbooks, and full-length collections for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $55
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $225
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $350

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font. The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is September 30. MJ will complete their work and respond to all participants by October 31.


Michal ‘MJ’ Jones' Statement of Purpose

Poetry represents an opportunity to constantly reinvent; to find new words, arrangements, landscapes, and forms with which to express the age-old. I am drawn in by poems that take and then refill my body’s breath. With softness or boldness, a poem must say something beyond beauty and lyric. It must enact. It must make a declaration. It must lead to revolution. It must shock the reader with its aliveness of witness.

When is a poem done, then? We’re rarely blessed with the final poem in our first draft. Our early versions are often akin to channeling, to birthing; revision, then, is the tender care we take to shape and raise the best of our language to fullness. As an editor and consultant, it is my task to understand why you must write, to understand how important your work is to you, to identify your unique poetic cadence. I will treat it with care and grace.

To share these tender beings we call poems with others is an act of bravery, and I am grateful to read them. I can’t wait to enter the world through your words.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.