During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press authors Amelia Martens, Brandi George, and David Rigsbee are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from single poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:
- Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
- Folios of up to 5 poems, not to exceed 7 pages in length, $30
- Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
- Full-length collections, up to 80 pages in length, $250
All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.
The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is January 31. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by February 28.
Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!
Brandi's Statement of Purpose
I approach each manuscript I read with humility, an open mind, and a willingness to be swept into another’s vision. I consider it my job to hone that vision, eliminating any clutter that prevents the reader from connecting to the text. Connection is at the heart of my aesthetics, and I believe that all writing is a conversation between text and reader, past and present, living and dead, self and abyss, human and habitat. The more ways the writer is able to connect with other art forms, disciplines, poetic traditions, narratives, myths, political/environmental concerns, and nonhuman life, the more powerful the work becomes. To me, the best poetry balances on the edge of what the writer is capable of, ever reaching beyond. This struggle will maximize the tension in the work.
I also believe that form is a vehicle for the transformation and transmission of ideas. I not only celebrate free verse, but poetic forms, including rhyme royal, terza rima, blank verse, lyric sequences, sonnets, ballads, villanelles, sestinas, ghazals, odes, erasures, golden shovels, bops, and other more recently invented forms. Experimental, hybrid-genre and medium work, and conceptual writing is welcome in addition to prose poems, narrative poems, persona poems, novels in verse, plays in verse, language-driven prose, and lyric essays. My comments will include line edits (line length and cohesion, efficiency of language, sentence structure), and large-order concerns (structure, format, narrative if applicable, image sets, and conceptual/theoretical framework), as well as suggestions for further reading. Be sure to include any particular questions or concerns in your cover letter.
Some of the questions I ask of a text:
VISION: What are the rules to this universe? Once I identify this, I am usually able to discover ways to help the text teach the reader how to read it, by means of reorganizing, reformatting, cutting, or expanding the text to make the writer’s vision more perceptible.
CONNECTION: How does the text contribute to a larger conversation (literary, political, social, cultural, religious)? If there are texts that would help the writer connect more strongly to these larger conversations, I will provide you with a list of reading suggestions.
TENSION: Does the writer achieve a balance between chaos and order, wildness and form? Are there places where the writer could increase the amount of tension (between line and sentence, form and content, everyday language and lyricism)?
WILL: Is the work alive? Does it have fire? Does it have its own will and life-force? If not, you have not pushed yourself hard enough, and I will suggest some methods for radical revision.