During the month of March, Black Lawrence Press author David Rigsbee is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. David, the author of 21 books and chapbooks, has been recipient of two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has appeared in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, The Ohio Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and many others.
David is accepting single poems, folios, chapbooks, and full-length collections for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:
- Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
- Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $30
- Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
- Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $250
All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.
The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is March 31. David will complete his work and respond to all participants by April 30.
David Rigsbee's Statement of Purpose
Poems begin in subjectivity, in what Yeats memorably called “the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.” But they can’t remain there and be poems. Because their origin is in the poet’s particular experience—imaginative, emotional, expressive—they have to be transformed into speech acts, or better still, into song. The transformation can be daunting. This is where the poet’s work comes in, and I believe that work benefits considerably from collaborative thinking that involves ways to use and enhance poetic intelligence, from word-choice and image, to acoustic and metrical composition, to architectural development and closure. I also believe the specific skills to accomplish that work can be passed on from poet to poet.
In my consultations, I try to help poets identify and take advantage of the opportunities—rhetorical, stylistic, musical, metaphorical—inherent in early drafts. I like to encourage thinking about poems as rhetorical performances intended to invite readers into the suggestive spaces a poem provides. At the same time I’m interested in understanding the difference between poems that work toward a resonant simplicity and those that, in Linda Gregg’s phrase, “tap-dance” and so often skirt the deeper commitments good work requires.
I want to make sure that structure and detail are crafted, sturdy, precise, and aesthetically compelling. Russell Edson once said that “of all the things that could have happened, this is the very thing that happens.” An unfinished poem can go in many directions, but in the end it only goes in one—one that turns both inwardlly, acknowledging its origins (the rag-and-bones) and outwardly, as it hooks up with the larger world. Contemporary poets whose work I follow, read, and reread include Gerald Stern, Jorie Graham, Terrance Hayes, Robert Pinsky, and Robert Hass, to name just a few.