Yearly Archives: 2015

AWP 2015 Debrief, Part 1

I attended several panels on publication, a panel on the sonnet (in case you don’t know, my graduate lecture was about the modern sonnet), a panel on revision, another on translation and a very interesting panel on balancing work for an arts organization with the creative life.

Panels on publication were among the best-attended, as if there were a secret system for getting one’s work accepted. There isn’t. These panels reinforced common sense: Treat your work and the editors with respect and complete professionalism. Know the publications to which you send your work, which means read or subscribe to those publications. Send only your best, completed work. If you are still revising, you’re sending it out too soon. Do not send anything that is cliché or slick. Do not make the assumption “big-named” journals are the best. Do send work with a strong voice that begs the reader to keep reading and re-reading. Learn how to submit online. Online submissions are far more the norm than postal submissions.

Several editors reported receiving submissions anywhere from four to five figures, which can lead to a hefty backlog. Many of these publications report acceptances at a rate less than .50 of 1%. Keep these figures in mind when you send your work to the most “popular” publications.

I’ll discuss some of the other panels and the book fair in upcoming posts.

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Reading in Pittsford Thursday

I am pleased to be reading from my chapbook Language You Refuse to Learn (Bright Hill Press, 2014) and new work along with H.B. Dill who will be reading from his recently published collection Supernal Andantes (Lulu, 2015). The reading is Thursday, March 12 at Barnes & Noble, Pittsford. We will begin at 7:00 p. m. An open mic will follow. This reading is a part of the Just Poets Reading Series and Open Mic. Anita Augesen will host. I hope to see you there! http://www.amazon.com/Language-Refuse-Learn-Claudia-Stanek/dp/1892471779/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426018405&sr=1-1&keywords=Language+You+Refuse+to+Learn

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Top 5 Most Memorable Poetry Books

I started a Poetry Readers’ Group in February 2004. There were 8 of us at then; 3 of the originals remain and three others sit at the table now.

Each month, a member selects a book which we will all read and discuss over a long afternoon lunch. We’ve read everything from selected poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins to this month’s selection, Parts of Speech by Kyle Schlesinger. Needless to say, there have been some very intense dialogues and there is rarely a book of poetry  that is either universally liked or disliked.

Thinking about the discussion we will have on Schlesinger’s book this month prompted me to consider which books of poetry I personally have found to be the most memorable over the years. Most of these books were not necessarily Readers’ Group selections though one is, Late Psalm by Betsy Sholl. This happened to be universally liked by the group members at the time.

As I pondered other books, I decided to compile my list based on certain factors: these books aren’t in the academic “canon.” Reading them forever changed how I approach as well as write poetry. They come to mind immediately when someone asks what my favorite book of poetry is.

In no particular order, here they are:

Late Psalm by Betsy Sholl
Morning in the Burned House by Margaret Atwood
Song by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Late Wife by Claudia Emerson
The Selected Poems of Max Jacob (in translation)

From these come some of my favorite poems: “Half-Hanged Mary” by Atwood, “Song” by Kelly and “Hell Has Gradations” by Jacobs.

“Half-Hanged Mary” takes 10 minutes to read. I know because I did a dramatic reading of it at Rochester Institute of Technology several years ago.

“Song” is a poem I can no longer hear read nor read myself. To do so metaphorically scrapes the walls of the chambers of my heart.

“Hell Has Gradations” is prescient, an allegorical prose poem that saw the Holocaust coming. Jacobs, who converted to Catholicism from Judaism, died in a Nazi prison camp.

If you’ve not read these poems or the books in which they are found, I encourage you to seek them out and know that they may overwhelm you.

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