January/February 2022

In the Inspiration Issue we present our seventeenth annual look at ten of the year’s best debut poets; essays on writing past burnout by Dan Beachy-Quick, Crystal Hana Kim, and Blair Hurley; authors Ann Hood, Manuel Gonzales, and others consider the inspiring push and pull of other arts; Beth Gilstrap on writing her latest story collection while caring for her dying mother-in-law; Michael Bourne on honoring a loved one’ s literary legacy; plus writing prompts, agent advice, contest deadlines, and more.

Special Section

Oxygen in Ash

by Dan Beachy-Quick
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The author reflects on the forest fires near his home in Fort Collins, Colorado, and considers their lessons on inspiration, writing, and what we gain from a crisis.

Small Starts

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
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The author of the illustrated collection of essays World of Wonders recommends sparking creativity by chronicling changes in the natural world or writing one line at a time.

Tiny Doable Things

by Blair Hurley
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The author explains how her Library of Tiny Doable Things—a running list of micro-actions and edits that hone her work—might help others bring their writing to fruition, one small step at a time.

Like Coming Home: Four Writers On the Push and Pull of Other Arts

by Ann Hood, Manuel Gonzales, T Kira Māhealani Madden, Larissa Pham
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Four authors celebrate the other creative pursuits—baking, painting, knitting, and learning a new language—that shape and inform their writing practices.

Writers’ Demons and Angels

by Cynthia Morris
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Confront the writing “demons” that hinder your work and celebrate your writing “angels” and goals in these interactive, illustrated pages of guided exercises.

News and Trends

Lambda Writers in Schools Program

Lambda Expands Writers in Schools

by Brian Gresko

Launched in New York City in 2015, the Lambda Literary Writers in Schools Program celebrates queerness by bringing LGBTQ authors to meet local students. Thanks to increased funding, the initiative is now reaching even more schools. 

Hiram Sims

A Place Built by Poets for Poets

by Jessica Kashiwabara

After collecting poetry books to lend to students, poet and educator Hiram Sims opened the Sims Poetry Library in Los Angeles. Today the library boasts a collection of over six thousand books and serves as a home base for poets in the community.

The Practical Writer

Still So Much to Say: Honoring a Loved One’s Literary Legacy

by Michael Bourne
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After his mother’s passing, the author discovers the writing she left behind. Through his own experience as well as interviews with other literary executors, he considers the question: How can he publish a loved one’s posthumous works—and should he?

The Literary Life

A Monstrous Silence: Caretaking and Writing in the Presence of Death

by Beth Gilstrap
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The author of Deadheading & Other Stories recounts how caring for her dying mother-in-law affected her writing life and ultimately shaped her book.

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Write a poem about your relationship to the past, a story about a character at a crossroads, or an essay about the role storytelling has in your life.