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Multiple price options

During the month of October, Black Lawrence Press author Lisa Fay Coutley is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. 

Lisa Fay is the author of tether (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), Errata (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition, and In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition. Her poems have been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Rona Jaffe scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize, chosen by Dana Levin.

Lisa Fay 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, $20
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $50
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $195
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $325

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

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Lisa Fay Coutley's Statement of Purpose

In an ideal workshop, an editor would meet a poem nowhere but on its own terms, though if we’re honest with ourselves we must admit that we each bring our own aesthetics and experiences into any reading and interpretation. My best readers are those who attempt not to mold my poems but to react with a thoughtful and well-articulated gut response, giving an exegesis of the language, lines, syntax, form and content, and the tensions and patterns therein. That is what I can promise you.

I will read and respond to your poems one at a time, first by typing how I experience the poem (given its images, line breaks, sonic qualities, etc.) upon an initial reading, and then compose a more careful critique with subsequent readings. I will read your poems as individual entities while also noting commonalities in form and subject among the batch. I will give a fair amount of feedback, but if you’d prefer that I give more pointed comments, I can do that as well.  

It’s not always the most trained reader who gives the best feedback but the one who learns to listen to the poem and sit with it a while. Outside eyes often notice obsessions we aren’t even aware of—themes and images we can’t seem to stop circling—and I will do my best to sit with your poems and listen to them—to understand their gestures and rhetoric, to find their sturdiest and softest spots, and to learn them on their own terms.

All of that I say as an editor. As a reader, my aesthetic calls me toward poems that are willing to make the best use of their form in order to enact their content. I am intrigued by lyrical, raw poems that demonstrate a willingness to observe subject matter without flinching. I am likely to nudge your poems in a direction in which they do their best to be their bravest yet most vulnerable selves.

I look forward to reading and responding to your words. 

All Best,

Lisa Fay

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