STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
An editor should meet any piece of writing on its terms, though we know we each bring our own aesthetics and experiences into any reading and interpretation. Over the years, my best readers have been those who attempt not to mold my poems or essays but to react with a thoughtful and well-articulated gut response, giving an exegesis of the language, lines, syntax, form and content, and the tensions and patterns therein. That is what I can promise you.
I tell my creative writing students that my goal is to identify the emotional core of their work, so I can help them put pressure on their craft choices, to make their poem or essay its strongest self. When I train student editors in my course Literary Magazine: Editing & Publishing Practicum, I teach them to ask of any piece of writing: What is this about? How is the way it’s built in service of that content? Not only am I trying to help them to make careful and analytical decisions, I am trying to help them to read outside of their aesthetic and to examine the important relationship between content and form. This is how we create an inclusive journal. This is how I will approach your work.
In a collection, I’ll read and respond to individual poems one at a time—typing how I experience the poem upon an initial reading and then composing a more careful critique with subsequent readings. I will respond to collections by making comments on individual poems throughout and at the end by summarizing how I experience the manuscript (noting its obsessions, form, style, technique, as well as its images, line breaks, sonic qualities, etc.) I will read your poems as individual entities while also noting commonalities in form and subject among the batch/collection, giving a fair amount of feedback, though if you’d prefer that I give more pointed comments, I can do that as well.
It’s not always the most trained reader who gives the best feedback but the one who learns to listen to the poems and sit with them a while. Outside eyes often notice obsessions we aren’t even aware of—themes and images we can’t seem to stop circling—and I will do my best to sit with your poems and listen to them—to understand their gestures and rhetoric, to find their sturdiest and softest spots, and to learn them on their own terms.
All of that I say as an editor. As a reader, my aesthetic calls me toward poems that are willing to make the best use of their form in order to enact their content. I am intrigued by lyrical, raw poems that demonstrate a willingness to observe subject matter without flinching. Whether you send a packet of five poems, a chapbook, or a full-length collection, I am likely to nudge your poems in a direction in which they do their best to be their bravest yet most vulnerable selves.
In addition to serving as Poetry Editor and Faculty Advisor for various literary journals during my academic career—from 2015-2022, I provided manuscript consultations for Black Lawrence Press, where I’m now happy to serve as Chapbook Series Editor. NOTE: My role as an independent manuscript consultant and my role as the Chapbook Editor at BLP are entirely separate. If you are interested in publishing with Black Lawrence Press, please submit your work directly to the press.
For a full list of my editorial experience, please see my BIO and CV.
I look forward to reading and responding to your words.
MANUSCRIPT CONSULTATION & FEE BREAKDOWN:
- Individual Poem – $20.00
- Poetry Packet (3-5 poems) – $60.00-75.00
- Poetry Chapbook (16-32 pages) – $150.00
- Full-length Poetry Collection (48-88 pages) – $275.00
- Microessay (500-750 words) – 1 for $30.00 or 3 for $75.00
- Creative Nonfiction Chapbook (16-32 pages) – $175.00
Contact Lisa Fay with consultation queries