Culture & Literature
Poets & Writers Magazine

Poets & Writers Magazine July - August 2018

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

1 min.

Begin your search for an agent with our carefully curated Literary Agents database, which includes contact info, submission guidelines, client lists, tips, and Twitter feeds to follow for daily dispatches from the agenting world. And don’t miss Agent Advice, in which some of the best literary agents in the United States answer the questions writers most frequently ask. Check out Agents & Editors Recommend, our new series of weekly tips and words of advice from publishing professionals. Read the expanded interview with literary agent Gillian MacKenzie, who reveals what kind of work she seeks to represent and offers specifics about what she wants to see in a query. Enjoy exclusive excerpts of the debut books featured in First Fiction 2018. Stay informed with Daily News, a roundup of the day’s headlines, from publishing reports to…

2 min.
editor’s note

CARRIED FORTH BY A TEAM MOST OF MY WORK ON THE LEAD STORY IN THIS ISSUE’S special section—the heavy lifting, one might say—was done while I was recuperating from back surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that nonetheless knocked me off my regular schedule for a couple of weeks. Much of my correspondence with the twenty principal players in “The Business of Relationships: How Authors, Agents, Editors, Booksellers, and Publicists Work Together to Reach Readers” (53) took place while I was out of the office and working from home. The irony was not lost on me that I was building and shaping a feature story meant to highlight the connections between a team of publishing professionals that rallies behind any successful book while separated from the team of publishing professionals behind this…

2 min.

LETTER Feedback from readers Maya Popa’s article “Two More Weeks to Submit! The Question of Extended Deadlines” (May/June 2018) is very timely, as I’ve noticed a marked increase in contest-deadline extensions in recent years. As both a writer and an editor of a literary press, I think it’s unethical for contests that charge entry fees to extend deadlines. If organizations expect submitters to follow their guidelines, then the organizations must also adhere to them, in all respects—including submission deadlines. There might be extenuating circumstances that would make a brief deadline extension necessary due to technical or logistical issues—a mass power outage, submission platform failure, etc. Outside of such instances, however, I believe that sponsoring organizations have a duty to uphold their own deadlines. To that end, my press, Orison Books, has recently…

4 min.
barbershop books

Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the nineties, Alvin Irby wasn’t much of a reader. “Reading books for pleasure wasn’t a part of my childhood,” he says. It wasn’t until high school—when Irby “started to understand the political and societal implications of reading,” and more specifically which groups of people tend to be excluded from reading—that the activity became something more than a chore. Today Irby is committed to making books and reading fun for children, in particular black boys—who report some of the lowest reading scores among children in the United States—through Barbershop Books, a literacy program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops and also trains barbers and other adults to help teach early literacy. Irby, who now lives in New York City, began installing shelves of children’s…

1 min.

CHRISTINE RO writes about books regularly for Book Riot and occasionally for Literary Hub, Vice, and other publications. MAGGIE MILLNER holds an MFA from New York University and lives in Brooklyn. Previously she was the Diana & Simon Raab Editorial Fellow at Poets & Writers Magazine. SARAH M. SELTZER is a writer of fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and ill-advised tweets. A lifelong New Yorker, she is an editor at Lilith magazine. DANA ISOKAWA is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine. JONATHAN VATNER is a fiction writer in Yonkers, New York. His debut novel, Carnegie Hill, is forthcoming from Thomas Dunne Books in 2019.…

2 min.
page one

“I have never been comfortable in my own body.” Sick (Harper Perennial, June 2018) by Porochista Khakpour. Third book, first memoir. Agent: Seth Fishman. Editor: Laura Brown. Publicist: Lily Lopate. “when you are sitting / with the corpse of your friend / this is what to do / when what do you do” Trickster Feminism (Penguin Books, July 2018) by Anne Waldman. Forty-sixth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Paul Slovak. Publicist: Theresa Gaffney. “Sonja is sitting in a car, and she’s brought her dictionary along.” Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (Graywolf Press, June 2018) by Dorthe Nors, translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra. Seventh book, fourth novel. Agent: Astri von Arbin Ahlander. Editor: Fiona McCrae. Publicist: Caroline Nitz. “The man next to me on the plane was so tall he couldn’t fit in…