Recently through Black Lawrence Press I offered consultations on poetry collections (chapbook and full manuscripts) and folios of up to five poems. Through my editing and workshop experience, I was pleased to share my knowledge of craft and poetry with other writers and received wonderful responses from clients. I've decided to continue the service for those who desire feedback on recent work.
Statement of Purpose
When reading individual poems I look for the creative spark first. I’m most drawn to poems that inform the reader; the word or line that pulls me into the poem or represents a change in thinking. For me that’s the moment when the poem takes flight. I believe poems should introduce questions, issues, characters, and images; and poets should use all the tools in their toolbox. In the same vein, good poems can reflect conflict and celebrate joy; each represents parts of the human experience. I always think of the poet CD Wright saying “you have deer here, but give me venison” meaning don’t shy away from details that enrich the work. Every poet has a unique voice and I enjoy discovering that voice in the work.
When evaluating chapbooks and full length projects, I believe that strength not length makes a good book. Most projects have themes and obsessions. As a consultant I try to find the strengths and weaknesses of those themes and see where it succeeds. I also think it's great when poets go off theme and the reader learns something new. When reading connected work, I ask where do the various threads lead? Any new discoveries? More importantly, do the poems speak to each other? I try to identify the poet's intention and work within those parameters. I believe most full-length projects represent a journey, so at the end of a book, the reader should be in a different head space.
Contact me if interested.