Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine July - August 2015

For more than twenty years, Poets & Writers Magazine has been a trusted companion to writers who take their vocation seriously. Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on the literary life, practical guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversation among fellow professionals.

United States
Poets & Writers, Inc
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s note

I RECENTLY TAUGHT MY SON HOW TO RIDE A BICYCLE ON A dead-end street in New York City. Nothing about it resembled the afternoon, thirty-five years ago, when I climbed on my bike—or rather, my brother’s old bike, a 1976 Evel Knievel Huffy with star-spangled fenders; a red, white, and blue banana seat; high, flared-out handlebars—and was pushed down the gentle slope of our front yard. In this memory, as in many of the untrustworthy recollections of my childhood, the landscape is sun-drenched, ideal: twenty yards of plush, green grass, my only obstacle a utility pole. Of course I hit the pole—as if it were magnetized, pulling the bike’s steel frame inexorably to it. My son didn’t have any grass to soften a fall. Turned out he didn’t need it.…

2 min.

Poets & Writers Magazine welcomes feedback from its readers. Please post a comment on select articles at www.pw.org/magazine, e-mail editor@pw.org, or write to Editor, Poets & Writers Magazine, 90 Broad Street, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10004. Letters accepted for publication may be edited for clarity and length. BACK ON THAT HORSE I want to thank Reagan Upshaw for his article “Rethinking Rejection: Notes From the Slush Pile” (May/June 2015). “I arrived to prison in 1997 at the age of nineteen.” Each time I submit work, my cover letter begins with that line. Imagine the thoughts of an editor receiving a large envelope boldly stamped THIS LETTER HAS BEEN MAILED FROM A CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, and then reading that first line. Even with the competition stacked against me, I still submit. My need…

5 min.
rethinking poetic citizenship

With poems published in several well-respected journals and two prestigious fellowships under his belt, it seems that twenty-five-year-old Javier Zamora is on the path to becoming a successful poet. But until recently, Zamora faced serious obstacles: At age nine, he traveled from El Salvador, across the Sonoran Desert, to the United States to reunite with his parents, who had left several years earlier to escape political persecution and financial hardship in their home country. Growing up an undocumented immigrant, Zamora struggled to get a driver’s license or hold a regular job, and did not qualify for federal financial aid to attend college. As a poet, he hoped to publish his first book but quickly discovered he was ineligible to compete for a number of first-book prizes, as they were open…

1 min.

MOMO CHANG is a journalist in Oakland, California. She writes about immigration, health care, education, and media. Her website is momochang.com. JONATHAN VATNER is a fiction writer in Brooklyn, New York. He is the staff writer for Hue, the alumni magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology. STACIA L. BROWN is a freelance writer and a mother. She lives in Baltimore. TRAVIS KUROWSKI is the editor of Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, published in 2013 by Atticus Books. His website is traviskurowski.com. NICK NARBUTAS is Poets & Writers Magazine’s Diana and Simon Raab Editorial Fellow.…

3 min.
page one

“This is a love story.” Muse (Knopf, June 2015) by Jonathan Galassi. Fourth book, first novel. Agent: Melanie Jackson. Editor: Robin Desser. Publicist: Maggie Southard. “Here again / at the edge of what was, // the river held back / by the stones it has carried, // the knife in your hand / brimming // rain.” My Feelings (Graywolf Press, June 2015) by Nick Flynn. Seventh book, fourth poetry collection. Agent: Bill Clegg. Editor: Jeff Shotts. Publicist: Erin Kottke. “Brooke and Sugar were on a bridge between a field and a crowded wood.” Haints Stay (Two Dollar Radio, June 2015) by Colin Winnette. Fifth book, third novel. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy. Editor: Eric Obenauf. Publicist: Eric Obenauf. “‘I just hate terrorist attacks,’ the thin nurse says to the older one.” The Seven Good Years…

4 min.
detroit’s insideout turns twenty

With Detroit’s population hovering just below seven hundred thousand, it is notable that the city’s largest literary arts organization, InsideOut, which invites poets into schools throughout the city, has reached more than fifty thousand students since its inception. The nonprofit celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, and founder and executive director Terry Blackhawk—the organization’s fairy godmother, as she refers to herself—will retire this month, leaving behind a thriving organization that is committed to nurturing students’ creativity and self-expression through poetry programs both in and out of the classroom. The idea for InsideOut was first conceived in the late eighties when Blackhawk, a schoolteacher and poet, began inviting established poets to visit her English classes in order to introduce students to the transformative power of poetry. Her work caught the attention of…