During the month of November, Black Lawrence Press author Jenny Drai is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. Jenny is the author of three collections of poetry, two poetry chapbooks, and an award-winning novella. Her prose and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in numerous print and online journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, American Letters and Commentary, Banango Street, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, OmniVerse, and Pleiades. Jenny is accepting everything from single poems to full-length collections. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:
- Single poems up to 2 pages in length, $20
- Folios of up to 5 pomes, up to 7 pages in length $50
- Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
- Full-length manuscripts, up to 80 pages in length, $325
All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.
The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is November 30. Jenny will complete her work and respond to all participants by December 31.
Jenny Drai's Statement of Purpose
As an editor, I begin by trusting the writing. In my view, writers build worlds within each poem or manuscript. When consulting on your manuscript, I’ll step into the world you’ve created, working within the given parameters to strengthen the building blocks, from the ground level up. When necessary, I’ll encourage you to broaden the horizons of the world you’ve built and will offer concrete advice on how to accomplish this.
Some questions I’ll ask while consulting on your manuscript:
· Does the writing grab and hold my attention? (I’ll draw on my experience working as an editor for a literary journal here, as well as my time as a member of a judging panel for a chapbook contest.)
· In the case of chapbook and book-length manuscripts, is there an overall arc to the collection? Do the poems talk to each other and create compelling connections as they are ordered in the manuscript?
· How well are line breaks working in individual poems, or in the case of prose poetry, is there enough tension in the language to create energy as one sentence flows into the next?
· Is the imagery specific and evocative, or are there instances where the writing may be too abstract?
· Can I identify the why of the poem? In other words, does the poem, as written, have a compelling reason to exist, or is more urgency needed?
· How does form help to create meaning in both individual poems and within the manuscript as a whole? Are there instances when slight alterations in form might serve to clarify what the poem is trying to say?
In general, my taste in poetry is truly eclectic, but I especially enjoy work that engages with and/or interrogates myth, fairy tales, history, and other works of literature. I’m also interested in how/if poetry can intersect with genre writing (i.e., sci fi, fantasy, mystery, etc.). I read voraciously, and in addition to poetry, I consume novels, short stories, nonfiction, memoirs, and graphic novels. To give you a further sense of my aesthetics, some of my favorite literary journals include Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Fairy Tale Review, Foundry Journal, Jellyfish Magazine, and Pleiades.