Posts Tagged ‘Milkweed Editions

16
Jun
12

Presses with Open Readings for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

Below is a list of presses with open readings for full-length poetry manuscripts. Most of the listings have free open readings, but I have included some that charge a Submittable fee or a reading fee, but I do try to limit it to just free open readings. Before the pandemic, I kept it up to day, but during the pandemic I did not. 😟 From now on, I will try to keep this list up to date.

Press with Open Reading for Full-Length Poetry Manuscripts

All the Time Open Readings (last updated 5-25-2022.)

  • 8th House Publishing (Begin with sample and query letter)
  • 11:11 Press (January 1, 2022, to March 31, 2022 for “Nothing Exists Alone” submissions.)
  • A.B. Baird Publishing (Mail a query letter and first 30 pages)
  • Aldrich Press (Imprint of Kelsay Books. $20 reading fee)
  • All Things Matter Press (Spiritual, self growth/transformation. Poetry manuscript “should be at least 35k words minimum.”)
  • Anansi
  • Anaphora Literary Press (Email submissions only.)
  • Andrew McMeel Publishing (Use their online form. Requires proposal, bio, and sample of work.)
  • Another New Calligraphy
  • Anvil Press (Canadian poets only. Guidelines being updated.)
  • April Gloaming Publishing (Southern writing. Start by sending 10 poems.)
  • Arte Público Press (“Poetry … based on U.S. Hispanic (Cuban American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and others) cultural issues and themes.”)
  • Baobab Press
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.” . . . They plan to reopen “in the 2022/2023 school year.” )
  • Bauhan Publishing (“We are booked through 2022.” Verified 5-25-22.)
  • bd-studios (“Much of the work we publish is by queer creators.”)
  • Better Than Starbucks (“We prefer books of 90–110 pages, including front and back matter, such as TOC, a forward or introduction, credit pages, etc.”)
  • Biblioasis (“Please note that while the majority of our authors and translators are Canadian, we do selectively consider international submissions.”)
  • Black Centipede Press
  • Black Lawrence Press Immigrant Writing Series
  • Black Mountain Press (“a literary press for outstanding emerging writers.” $8 submission fee on Submittable.)
  • BlazeVox
  • Bloodaxe Books (British press. Mail “a sample of up to a dozen poems.”)
  • BOA (Open submissions to the American Poets Continuum Series closes September 30. Not known when submission period begins. Mail only.)
  • BookLand Press. (“We are particularly interested in submissions from culturally diverse Canadian authors, Indigenous authors, people with disabilities, and official language minority authors.”)
  • Bottom Dog Press (Begin with query.)
  • Bower House (Bower House is currently not accepting submissions. Verified 5-25-2022.)
  • Breakaway Books (Sport themes only.)
  • Broadstone Books (“We anticipate resuming open reading on September 1, 2022.”)
  • C & R Press ($25 reading fee.)
  • Caitlin Press Inc. (“Caitlin Press publishes books in all genres, but mainly on topics concerning or by writers from the BC Interior and stories about and by BC women.”)
  • Cephalo Press (“Send us 3-5 poems that best represent your collection.”)
  • Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library (You might have to be first published in their journal)
  • City Lights Books (“Regretfully, we are unable to accept manuscript submissions at this time.” Verified 5-25-2022.)
  • City Work Press (San Diego poets. Send “a sample poem” and an SASE to begin process.)
  • Clash Books
  • Coach House Books (“We publish primarily Canadian authors.”)
  • Cooper Dillon (for $10 or with purchase of one of their books)
  • Copper Canyon Press (“Our open reading periods, held at least twice per year,” but the open months seem to vary. The current open reading will begin in Fall 2023.)
  • Corrupt Press (I think they are open all year.)
  • Counterpath Press (“Please send a query with a sample of no more than about 10 pgs.” to begin process.)
  • Daffydownlilly Press (Imprint of Kelsay Books. Rhyming poetry for children written by adults. $20 reading fee.)
  • Damaged Goods Press (“books by queer and trans identified writers”)
  • Deep Vellum
  • Disorder Press
  • ECW Press (Canadian poets only. Send “approx. 10-15 pages” to begin process.)
  • Ekstasis Editions (Mail only.)
  • El Balazo Press (This may be defunct. Not sure.)
  • Elyssar Press
  • Encircle Publications (Use their “Author Query Form.” . . . “Our publishing slate is full for 2021-2022, so for now, we are not accepting any new manuscript submissions.”)
  • Etruscan Press (with $20 reading fee)
  • Fragmented Voices (Begin with ” 3 – 4 poems, with an outline of a concept for a book, and a structured CV (no more than 2 pages) with a focus on the author’s creative life.”)
  • Fremantle Press (“Fremantle Press welcomes unsolicited manuscripts from authors of Western Australian origin or whose main place of residence is Western Australia. Work by non–Western Australian authors will be considered when the subject matter has a strong Western Australian focus.”)
  • Gasher Journal and Press ($25 reading fee.)
  • Get Fresh Books (“Our chief concern is to provide opportunities for underrepresented voices in publishing.” “We are now closed for regular submissions until spring 2023.” Verified 5-25-2022.)
  • Giramondo Publishing (Reading periods seem to vary. Last checked on 5-25-2022.)
  • Golden Foothills Press (Will reopen sometime in 2023.)
  • Goose Lane Editions (Canadian poets only.)
  • Grayson Books (query with “a sample of 6-10 pages of the manuscript, along with a statement of your qualifications and publication credits, expected audience and promotion ideas.”)
  • Grey Borders Books (“Interested in works that confront and challenge contemporary social norms.” Use their submission form. . . . “Our reading period is currently closed and will reopen sometime in 2021.” They may be defunct.)
  • Half Mystic Press ($5, $10, and $15 reading fee. “At least three-quarters of the book should be previously unpublished in any form.”)
  • Harbor Mountain Press (Start with “letter or email inquiry.” “Response time is breaking some (long) records.” . . . “we are not reading manuscripts until further notice” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • High Plains Press (“Poetry of the American West. Old West history is what we can sell best.”)
  • Holland Park Press (“Places special emphasis on bringing the work of Dutch authors to the English language market.” Email only.)
  • Holy Cow! Press (“There is a three step process for reviewing your work.”)
  • IF SF Publishing (Begin with cover letter, 10-pages, publication credits.)
  • Inside the Castle (“They are highly language and format driven, invested in hybrid approaches, prose mistaken for poetry, poetry mistaken for nonfiction. [. . .] We tend not to be enamored by poetry collections, preferring book-length works, but do try to tempt us.”)
  • Invisible Publishing
  • Kaya Publishing (“Publishing Asian diasporic literature.”)
  • Lady Lazarus-Press
  • Lapwing Publications (Belfast, Ireland.)
  • Literary Laundry (The Vitalist Series. “Submissions are due April 1 of each year.” No opening date given.)
  • Luath Press (Begin with query and sample text.)
  • Manic D Press (You must read one of their books and tell them which one you read. Query with 5-10 poems.)
  • Measure Press
  • Milk Press (The Poetry Society of New York) ($12. No simultaneous submissions.)
  • Moonrise Press
  • New Binary Press
  • New Meridian Arts (Uncertain of reading period. “Greetings Fellow Writers. Our submission page is closed for now. Please check back with us later in the year” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Northwestern University Press (Email proposal.)
  • Offord Road Books (“ORB is currently closed for submissions” as of 5-25-2022, and they have been closed since 1-3-2020.)
  • Oolichan Books. (“Oolichan Books is not accepting unsolicited manuscripts at this time” as of 5-25-2022, and they have been closed since 1-3-20.)
  • Oomph! Press (Poetry in translation.)
  • Open Letter
  • Paloma Press (Begin with query by email. . . . “We have books already scheduled for release through 2022 and are unable to accept submissions at this time.”)
  • Pank Books ($20. “PANK loves you. PANK is always open for your love.”)
  • Peepal Tree Press
  • Penteract Press
  • Persea Books (Begin with a query.)
  • Pinyon Publishing (“Queries welcome.” “Please no simultaneous submissions.”)
  • Platypus Press (England-based press. “We are currently closed for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Plough Books (Faith based??)
  • Poetic Matrix
  • Prolific Press
  • Propertius Press (“Submissions opened January 6, and there are dozens already in the queues. We are limiting each portal to a specified number of submissions so we don’t get overloaded. When that number is reached, the portal for that classification will close” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Rebel Mountain Press (“Canadian authors only.”)
  • Red Hen Press ($20.)
  • Red Squirrel Press (Scotland based, but open to all. “Red Squirrel Press currently have a full publication plan until the end of 2022 and almost full until the end of 2023.”)
  • Salò Press (“Currently closed to submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Salmon Poetry (“Our list is full until the end of 2025.”)
  • Shabda Press (Unsure if they are open all the time. Current message, as of 6-1-2022, reads, “Submissions reading period: Poems from manuscripts received out of the submissions reading period will not be read or responded to. We are currently on hiatus and taking a break for self-care; no submissions can be taken until further notice. Thank you for your interest in us, and please check back with us in Summer 2023.)
  • Shanti Arts (“We expect to return to normal toward the end of 2022.”)
  • Shearsman Books
  • Signature Editions. (Canadian citizens only.)
  • Slant ($3 Duosama (Duotrope’s submission manager) fee.)
  • Skull + Wind Press (First, second, or third full-length manuscripts.)
  • Spuyten Duyvil (“[W]e ask you to support our press by purchasing our books whenever you are (financially able and) inspired by their contents.”)
  • SparkWheelPress (“Submissions are currently closed. Please check back in 2020.” Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Tavern Books (“Poetry Manuscripts in Translation” or “English-Language, Single-Author Poetry Reprints.”)
  • Threadsuns Press (Email only.)
  • Trembling Pillow Press (“Book Manuscripts should be at least 80 pages.” “$15.00 reading fee.”)
  • Ugly Duckling Presse (Begin with query and proposal. “We are not currently accepting submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • University of Saint Katherine Press (Christian perspectives.)
  • University Professors Press
  • Unsolicited Press ($5 reading fee.)
  • Urban Farmhouse Press
  • Urtica Press (“On hiatus” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Vegetarian Alcoholic Press
  • Victoria University Press (“Most of our authors live in Aotearoa New Zealand and/or their work is suitable primarily for a local audience. Please note that we are not able to consider submissions from overseas writers whose work does not have a connection with Aotearoa New Zealand.”)
  • Wesleyan University Press (Currently closed to poetry submissions as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Whisk(e)y Tit
  • White Violet Press (Imprint of Kelsay Books. For formalist poets. $20 reading fee)
  • Word West (Currently closed to subsmissions as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Xi Draconis Books (Currently “Under Construction.”)
January Open Readings (Checked and updated 1-3-20.)
February Open Readings
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Broken Sleep Books (“We particularly wish to encourage more working-class writers, LGBTQ+, and BAME writers to submit.” January 1 through February 28)
  • Canarium Books
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • ELJ Publications (February 1 to April 1. $5.)
  • Galileo Press (Ends 3-1-19. An imprint of Free State Review.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • Panhandler Books
  • Terrapin Books (January 24 to February 28, 2020. $12.)
March Open Readings
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • CavanKerry Press (For Laurel Books, Emerging Voices, and Notable Voices imprint only. $20 reading fee.)
  • Cormorant Books. (“Publishes writers who are both Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.” March 1 – April 15, 2020.)
  • ELJ Publications (February 1 to April 1. $5.)
  • Galileo Press (Ends 3-1-19. An imprint of Free State Review.)
  • Glass Lyre Press (. March 15 to April 31. $15 reading fee. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Gold Wake Press (Open reading begins March 1. There is no specified end date. Next open reading begins October 1 with no specified end date. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • Panhandler Books
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Unicorn Press
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
April Open Readings (last checked and updated 4-2-18)
  • Astrophil Press (University of South Dakota. Open reading period has changed. No known dates.)
  • Barefoot Muse Press (April 1 – April 30. “Poems should demonstrate an allegiance to meter/form.”)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Close-Up Books (Submissions open April 30th. Added 6-2-2020.)
  • Cormorant Books. (“Publishes writers who are both Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.” March 1 – April 15, 2020.)
  • Glass Lyre Press (. March 15 to April 31. $15 reading fee. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milk and Cake Press (January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020.)
  • New Rivers Press
  • Nine Arches Press (April 1-30, 2018.)
  • Octopus Books
  • Panhandler Books
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
  • Woodley Press (“Woodley Press strives to publish books by Kansans or books that focus on Kansas.”)
  • YesYes Books (April 1 – May 15. $22. “There are presently no open calls for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
May Open Readings (last checked and updated 5-25-2022)
  • Able Muse Press (May 1 to July 15.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Close-Up Books (Submissions open April 30th. “Close-Up Books is currently on hiatus as of February 2021,” so it may be defunct. Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Elephants ($15. May 1 to June 30.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • New Rivers Press (“General Submissions are temporarily on hiatus” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Ninebark Press (“As of March 2020, Ninebark Press is on hiatus.” Checked on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sundress Publications ($13 reading fee.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • University Press of Kentucky: New Poetry and Prose Series. (Begin with query. March 15 – May 15. “There are presently no open calls for submissions.” Checked 5-25-2022.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“Authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
  • YesYes Books (April 1 – May 15. $22. “There are presently no open calls for submissions” as of 5-25-2022.)
June Open Readings (last checked and updated 6-1-2022)
  • Airlie Press (June 3 to July 31. Pacific Northwest poets.)
  • Able Muse Press (May 1 to July 15.)
  • BkMk Press (February 1 through June 30. Process begins with a sample of 10 pages of poetry. See guidelines. . . . “BkMk Press is not accepting open submissions at this time. We will make an announcement here when we are able to consider new work” as of 5-25-2022.)
  • Black Lawrence Press
  • Four Way Books ($30 reading fee. June 1-30.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message is still there on 6-1-2022.)
  • Red Hen Press 
  • River River Press (June 1 – July 31. “Pay-what-you-can reading fee.”)
  • Sibling Rivalry Press (March 1 – June 1. . . . “After a decade of disturbance, we’re hitting pause on our annual open-submission period. Watch this space or follow our social media accounts, and we’ll let you know when we open for submissions again.” This message appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sundress Publications (June 1 – August 15. $13 reading fee.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • The Waywiser Press (“We regret we cannot consider submissions from authors who have published two or more previous collections of poems.” March 1 – July 1.)
  • Willow Books
July Open Readings (last checked and updated 7-4-19)
August Open Reading (last checked and updated 8-1-17)
September Open Readings (Last checked 9-1-17)
  • Arktoi Books (lesbian poets) (At the moment, Arktoi is not accepting submissions.)
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Cherry Castle Publishing (“Our submission period is currently closed.”)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.” Checked 1-3-20.)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • Kore Press (July 9 through October 31. “Open to any women, gender queer, and transgendered artist writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad, and regardless of prior publication history.” Updated 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Sidebrow Books (Through October 31, 2017. “In lieu of a reading fee, we are asking each of you to kindly support our press and authors by buying the book of your choice from our catalog in conjunction with this reading period.”)
  • Tarpaulin Sky Press (“Will we open for unsolicited submissions again, anytime soon? Most likely. But we’re not sure when.”)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.)
  • Willow Books
October Open Readings (Last updated 10-2-18)
  • Arktori Books (lesbian poets) (“At the moment, Arktoi is not accepting submissions. Check back for changes.”)
  • Apocalypse Party
  • boost house
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Black Ocean (“We are currently accepting submissions *for first poetry books* only from October 1 through October 31, 2017.”)
  • Carnegie Mellon University Press (Not open to previous Carnegie Mellon University Press Poets. $15 reading fee.)
  • co-im-press (“Likes works in translation that are strange, transgressive, visceral-mystical, or “unpublishable” through traditional means.”)
  • Counterpath (Begin with a query and a short sample.)
  • Deerbrook Editions (“Suspended until further notice. . . . The normal reading period is August 1 to October 1.” Checked 1-3-20.)
  • El Balazo Press
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Gold Wake Press (Open reading begins March 1. There is no specified end date. Next open reading begins October 1 with no specified end date. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • Inside the Castle
  • Kore Press (July 9 through October 31. “Open to any women, gender queer, and transgendered artist writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad, and regardless of prior publication history.” Updated 1-3-20.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Milkweed Editions (“Milkweed Editions does not anticipate holding open submissions periods in 2018.”)
  • Orison Books (Poetry in translation.)
  • Nine Arches Press (October 1-31, 2018.)
  • Sidebrow Books (“We are currently closed for book-length submissions.”)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($15 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens..”)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • University of Pittsburgh Press (Pitt Poetry Series. For poets who have previously published a poetry book.)
November Open Readings (Last updated 11-14-18)
  • Arktori Books (Lesbian poets. At the moment, Arktoi is not accepting submissions. Check back for changes.”)
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Black Lawrence Press
  • Copper Canyon Press (Our open reading period is currently closed. We will reopen for submissions in Fall 2023.)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • McSweeney’s Books (“Submissions are currently closed. We don’t have an exact date when they’ll reopen, but we’d suggest checking back in a few months. Thank you for considering McSweeney’s. (3/1/20).” This message still appears on 5-25-2022.)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($15 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.”)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • WordTech Communications (Includes the following imprints Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Turning Point, Word Press, and WordTech Editions.)
December Open Readings
  • Bat Cat Press (“We welcome the submission of complete manuscripts throughout the year. We read in the fall (September-December) and typically send out accept/decline letters in December and January.”)
  • Brick Road Poetry Press (75-100 pages. December 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020.)
  • FutureCycle Press (They read July through December. Checked 1-3-20.)
  • Future Poem Books (December 1 through January 15.)
  • Green Lantern Press (December 1 through January 30.)
  • Harpoon Books (For 2019. $10.)
  • Tavern Books: The Wrolstad Contemporary Series ($25 reading fee. “The Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series is only open to female poets aged 40 years or younger. Entrants must be US citizens.”)
  • Tinderbox Editions (December 1-7 fee-free open reading period. December 1 – January 30 $22 donation period.)
  • Unicorn Press (April 1 – June 30 and October 1-December 31.)
  • WordTech Communications (Includes the following imprints Cherry Grove Collections, CW Books, David Robert Books, Turning Point, Word Press, and WordTech Editions. Closes December 15.)

//

More to come.

//

Ultimate Update: 5-25-2022 and 6-1-2022

  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • Black Lawrence Press Immigrant Writing Series
    • Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library
    • Elyssar Press
    • Gasher Journal & Press
    • Golden Foothills Press
    • Moonrise Press
    • Oomph! Press
    • Shabda Press
  • Removed from All the Time Open Readings:
    • A15 Publishing
    • Coteau Press
    • Inlandia Books
    • Mother Tongue Publishing Limited
    • Red Dirt Press
    • Snake Nation Press
  • Removed from May Open Readings:
    • Ahsahta Press
    • Mason Jar Press (Removed from November, December, January, February, March, and April too.)
  • Added to June and July Open Readings: River River Books

Penltimate Update: 6-7-20:

  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • Deep Vellum
    • Milk Press
    • Snake Nation Press
    • Ugly Duckling Presse
  • Added The Elephants to May and June
Antepenultimate update: 6-2-20:
  • Added to All the Time Open Readings:
    • 8th House Publishing
    • 11:11 Press
    • A.B. Baird Publishing
    • A15 Publishing
    • All Things Matter Press
    • Andrew McMeel Publishing
    • April Gloaming Publishing
    • bd-studios
    • Better Than Starbucks
    • Biblioasis
    • Black Mountain Press
    • Caitlin Press Inc.
    • Cephalo Press
    • City Lights Books
    • Clash Books
    • Coach House Books
    • Coteau Books
    • Encircle Publications
    • Fragmented Voices
    • Fremantle Press
    • Giramondo Publishing
    • Grey Borders Books
    • Holland Park Press
    • Invisible Publishing
    • IF SF Publishing
    • Luath Press
    • New Meridian Arts
    • Peepal Tree Press
    • Penteract Press
    • Plough Books
    • Propertius Press
    • Rebel Mountain Press
    • Red Dirt Press
    • Shanti Arts
    • Shearsman Books
    • Slant
    • Threadsuns Press
    • University of Saint Katherine Press
    • University Professors Press
    • Unsolicited Press
    • Urtica Press
    • Victoria University Press
    • Wesleyan University Press
    • Whiskey Tit
    • Word West
    • Xi Draconis Books
  • Added Close-Up Books to April, May, July, and August
preantepenultimate update: 5-31-20: Removed Short Flight/Long Drive Books from May and June
// 
195 presses that print paperback and/or hardcover poetry books.//
24
Apr
12

On Christopher Howell’s “Listen” – Line Breaks and Harmonies

     Listen

     Is it an empty house, the body alone
     with its weary old clothes
     or its bullet holes and severed arteries,
     last laugh still shining in its teeth?                         

     The road of answers leaps its ditch
     and descends a dusty hollow
     where nightbirds coo, Pass by, and the Angel
     of Nothingness does his nails.

     Often sky dazzles
     over the great breathing earth.
     Often of its own accord the grain begins again
     to simmer. Deep in the dark

     I find my wife's hand and listen
     as the blue trees bow and bend and I want my soul
     to tell about itself almost
     anything.

     And it says I, too, am a traveler.
     Wait for me. 

GazeI first saw this poem on Verse Daily, but it appeared earlier in Christopher Howell’s Gaze (Milkweed Editions, 2012). (I also post this poem without anyone’s permission, but I hope no one minds. If you do, let me know.)

The poem opens with the beginning of a question, which is followed by a comma. This comma acts as a pivot because here the poem creates a balance on either side. The comma also sets up a metaphor and establishes the tenor and vehicle. The first line also sets up some of the sounds that help accelerate the poem forward. Those sounds are the T, long E, and the long O. You’ll also hear the Z/S sound in “Is.” And the  long E sounds on either side of the comma yoke together the “empty house” and “body alone.” So what this line does, on one level, is to ask, “Is ‘the body alone’ ‘an empty house’?”

The poem begins by asking this, and then continues to extend the metaphor in the next three lines. I also hear this tug and pull between between the short T sounds and the long vowel sounds or just long sounds in general. The poem starts quick – “It is an” and then we get that long em sound that’s rounded out with the P sound in “empty,” and this followed by the T and long E sounds. You can hear this type of play here and there in the poem, and most effectively in line 8, “of Nothingness does his nails.” The effect there is that the line starts quick with all the short syllable in “of Nothingness”. This abruptness then allows the reader to hear the necessary slow down effect that would accompany someone who “does his nails.” Doing your nails is something you do slowly. It implies slowness. It’s like the Angel of Nothingness is just leaning against a wall, hanging out, watching, and doing his nails.

But to those opening lines. The first line, as explained, behave as a balancing act, and its long O rhymes with the long O at the end of line two. Lines three and four also rhyme with the long E sounds in “arteries” and “teeth.” You’ll hear subtle rhymes like that some more in lines 6-9 with the L sounds, and then there are the S and T sounds that rhyme at the ends of lines 13-15, and if you want to hear the “th” in “anything” as a type of S sound, then there’s an additional rhyme sound. And of course, there’s the long distance rhyme of the long E in “me” at the end of the poem, which recalls the long E sounds in line one. The long E sound also occurs in a few more places, as it walks in the cellar of the poem’s sounds like a ghost. You can hear those long E s in lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 14, and 16.

Lines 3-5 also establish or reestablish the L, S, T, and long O sounds that continually appear and accelerate the poem forward on an harmonic level.

By why are lines 2, 3, and 4 breaking where they are? I think it is because each line is an image thought. Line two shows the body “with its weary old clothes,” which is a single image or the conclusion to the image in line one. Line three has two images, but they seem connected as both indicate an abusive entering into the flesh. Plus, you can’t sever arteries without making a hole.  Or maybe the bullet holes severed the arteries. Anyway, the violence of penetration holds those images together as an image thought. Line four is tight in sounds: three L sounds, the two AH sounds in “last” and “laugh,” the three S sounds and a fourth if you hear “th” as a type of S sound, the short I sounds in “still,” “ing,” “in,” and “its”, the two N sounds, and the four T sounds. All those sounds certainly get stuck in the teeth, so they can be pronounced again later. The fourth line ends the question that began in line one. Still, I wonder about the “last laugh.” Since “laugh” indicates a plural verb, then I wonder if the “last laugh” applies to both the house and body. So while line one established a metaphorical relationship around the comma (which means body and house are the same or as one) the verb tense in “laugh” actually makes them act as one.

What stanza one does, then, is to tell us why the title is “Listen.” We need to listen to the sounds and for an answer to the question. So, let’s continue listening.

Evel Knievel Snake River CanyonLine five is a good example of a line break behaving in the manner of its content. When you get to the end of line five, you are forced to leap over the ditch in your imagination. The line turn is the leap. I kinda feel like Evel Knievel over Snake River Canyon on this line turn, except this leap is successful. You can also hear the L sound that echoes to line four and that may be acting as a connecting sound between stanzas one, two, and three, especially since the L sound rhymes at the end of lines 6, 7, 8, and 9. In line five, the L sound has the feel of a discus or hammer thrower to me. It’s spinning in centripetal force from line to line and adding to the final acceleration of the poem. The S sounds in lines four and five provide a connective sound between the stanzas and lines, too, but it’s effect is bigger as its sound is almost in every line, and it is in every line except the last if you hear “th” as a type of S sound. The S sound is more like a drawstring that pulls the poem together tight.

Line six is the continuation of the actions of “answers” in line five. After it leaps, it must descend, and so it does in image and sound, a “low” sound. The early sounds in the line are higher in pitch than the “low” sound in “hollow,” so it really is a descent. And the low sound essentially continues in the next two lines, except for the two high-pithced long I sounds, and those low sounds feel of despair until the upbeat of “Angel.” Wait. Maybe there isn’t anything to despair after all. An angel is hope. It’s a good thing. Right? Nope. Oh, there’s a brief glimmer of hope on the line turn after “Angel,” but then it’s abruptly taken away with “Nothingness.” The “Angel of Nothingness.” Oh, despair can only be made more despairing when hope presents itself but fails or is taken away. (I wonder how much the capital “A” in “Angel” added to the hope. The capital “A” makes it a proper noun, a specific angel, and not just a generic angel. More hope can come with specificity. Plus, the capital “A” points to the sky like a mountain. Maybe we will rise from “a dusty hollow.”) So line five leaps, line six descends, line seven describes the hollow and offers hope at then end, and then line eight takes away that hope with a patient angel doing his nails, which I’ve discussed above.

In line nine, we hear the last of the L sound for four lines, but as we hear it, we also hear it and the Z sounds in “dazzles” rhyme with the L and Z sounds in line eight’s “nails.” The movement is connected by sound, but the images in the lines eight and nine are contrarian in their meanings. Line eight is patient and chill, and line nine is dazzling. Is that why the line ends there? to juxtapose at-easness with something that dazzles? And in the dazzle, the rhymes stop for a while, too. Also, the dominance of long vowels that were in the first two stanzas fades a bit. In this stanza, the consonants take dominance. It’s more of that tug and pull I mentioned above.

Line ten, like like six, continues the action of the previous line as we see where the dazzling occurs. Notice how slow this line moves, too. I imagine the earth breathes slow, too. Line eleven starts a new action – the grain beginning . . . something. The line has six trochees and ends on a stressed syllable. It’s the longest line in the poem with 13 syllables. It has five N sounds and ends with three G sounds. There are also two “in” sounds – “Often” and “begins” – But it looks like there are four with the repetition of “in” in “grain” and “again.” The “in” was set up in the previous line, so it has its echoes there, but it also recalls the two “in” sounds in line four. And it sets up the two “in” sounds in lines 12 and at the end of line 13. But back to line 10. Why is it so long? Rather, since it is the longest line, it draws attention to itself. It must be significant if it needs so many syllables to say something. I think it is because the tone of the poem is turning. In addition, I think this is where the metaphor we thought we had in line one becomes real. It turns out, in fact, that line one wasn’t performing as a metaphor. It was being literal. In other words, is it an empty house if there’s only one alone person in it? But we need that metaphor, so we can feel the aloneness and despair that accompanies an empty house. perhaps, the metaphor is literal and figurative. Perhaps, he is an empty house with only one alone person – himself –, and perhaps the house and himself weren’t empty when his wife lived with him, in him, and in the house. So line 11 is a volta, a turning. Something is rising instead of falling. Something is growing instead of dying. Line 12 answers affirms that something is growing. The grain simmers “Deep in the dark”, or the logic of the line tells us that. That is the image we get. But “Deep in the dark” will act in two different ways, and it achieves this because of a line break. The line break, now acting like the comma in line one, also creates another metaphor between seed in the dark and the wife’s hand “Deep in the dark.”

Line 13 connects to line 12, as described, by the hinging line break, but it also connects with the D sounds. “Deep,” “dark,” “find,” and “hand” are now connected. Line 13 also begins with four long I sounds in a row. It’s an elation. It’s the high-pitch of joy sound. “I find my wife’s.” The high joy and hastened pace in those first four words and syllables, lower and slow in the next four syllables. The pace drops off after the “d” in “hand.” It’s like there’s a slight caesura there. One might be tempted to put a line break after “hand.” It feels right, but then the change in emotion might be lost or not as strong. By not putting a line break after “hand,” the poem goes from elation to concentration in one line motion. It goes from happy to serious. The transition in emotion is seamless when on one line.

Line 14, like the second line in each of the previous stanzas, continues the action of the previous line. However, it doesn’t continue the action of what was in the preceding line (such as “the body alone,” “answers,” or “dazzles”), but it does continue the action of the scenery and mood of the previous line. Line 14 is also the longest line on the page, but not in syllables.  Lines 13 and 14 are also dominated by long vowels sounds – the long Is, the OO in “blue,” the long E in “tree,” the OW in “bow,” and the long O in “soul.” Long vowels tend to emote, and there’s a lot of emotion going on here. There’s also some tug and pull with the B, D, S, and T sounds, just like there was in the transition from joy to concentration in line 13.  I kind of want to hear the beginning of line 13 and the end of line 14 as the speaker being selfish or overly concerned with the himself. Line 13, as said above, begins with all those long I sounds, so how can you not hear the “I” of the poet especially when coupled with “I” and “my.” And then the end of line 14 also has “I” and “my.” But line 15 tells us that it’s not that he wants his soul, he wants his soul to tell him something about itself. He wants to listen. So this stanza is about listening. It’s about the title.

Line 16 is the shortest line on the page, but it has three syllables just like the last line. Those two lines speak to each other just as his soul speaks to him. Line 16 ends on a type of gasp or last wish that is kind of like “just tell me . . . anything.” But oddly, he doesn’t want to hear anything, he wants to hear “almost / anything.” There are some things he doesn’t want to hear. The worst of them would probably be to hear nothing, or the sound of an empty house, because then he would surely be alone.

Line 17 starts with “And” to recall the “hand” in line 13. Line 13 has one or two long vowels, depending on how your pronounce, but it’s dominated by  the T, S, and L sounds that we’ve heard so often before. Then after the line turn, in line 18, we return to the long vowels with the long A and long E. So not only to we have the tug and pull between long and short sounds in this line, there is also some tugging between line 18 and the three syllable “anything” in line 16.

GazeThis poem now as I hear it and think about it is about the tug and pull between life and the afterlife, between aloneness and the company of love, and it’s between listening to sounds and hearing nothing. It’s about patience. Patience like the Angle of Nothingness has in lines 7 and 8, and the patience of waiting for the soul and the afterlife to be with the loved one again.

Once again, I first saw this poem on Verse Daily, but it appeared earlier in Christopher Howell’s Gaze (Milkweed Editions, 2012). (I also post this poem without anyone’s permission, but I hope no one minds. If you do, let me know.)

For more about lineation and line breaks in general, please read “Lineation: An Introduction to the Poetic Line,” a fun, conversational, an in-depth look at line breaks. //




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

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