Ends on January 31, 2018

Multiple price options

During the month of January, Black Lawrence Press authors Amelia MartensBrandi 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!

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David'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, Terence Hayes, Robert Pinsky, and Robert Hass, to name just a few.

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