January/February 2023

In the Inspiration Issue we present our eighteenth annual look at ten of the year’s best debut poets; a sea of ideas and recommendations for the year of writing ahead, including paintings, films, photographs, poetry rituals, and writing prompts; an interview with U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón; an essay on poetry as a kind of medicine for the soul; a guide to literary magazines as the gateway to a writing career; plus contest deadlines, recent winners, writers retreats, and more.

Start Dreaming: A Sea of Ideas for the Year of Writing Ahead

Twelve Things That Help Me Set My Table

by Hanif Abdurraqib
Print Only

The author of A Little Devil in America describes the stories behind unique objects that characterize his writing space and inspire his practice, including a vintage Prince poster he found at a local record store.

Twelve Ways to Create Space to Write No Matter Where You Are

by Hafizah Augustus Geter
Print Only

The author of The Black Period recommends finding clarity on the page by making space for new ideas, methods, and experiences, including listening to your own writing read aloud to you.

Twelve Paintings That Make Me Want to Write Poetry

by Xan Phillips
Print Only

The poet and visual artist introduces paintings that turn his attention to poetry, including Crying Mary (Familiar) by Ava Tuitt and Double Elegy by Harmony Hammond.

Twelve (Soma)tic Poetry Rituals

by CAConrad
Print Only

The author of Amanda Paradise shares a list of rituals that may just startle you into writing some poetry, including practicing your acceptance speech for the Best Song of the Year Award.

Twelve Photographs That Make Me Want to Write About What It Means to Be Alive

by Nadia Alexis
Print Only

A poet, writer, and photographer explores an assortment of photographs that spark reflection on themes such as liminality, history, and power, including Tommy Kha’s May (Betwixt) and Pixy Liao’s I Push You.

Twelve Poems to Compel a Poet

by Anne-Adele Wight
Print Only

The author of An Internet of Containment shares a selection of poems that remind her of poetry’s many objectives and the valuable lessons they offer to emerging poets.

Twelve Films That Put Me in the Mood to Write

by Alex Dimitrov
Print Only

The author of Love and Other Poems introduces a dozen films that evoke emotional experiences ranging from fear to admiration, including Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt.

Twelve Food-Related Writing Prompts

by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Print Only

The author of World of Wonders uses food and drink to generate delicious writing prompts that will inspire a banquet of poems, essays, odes, and stories.

Twelve Tips for Collaborating with a Cat (Who Wants to Help You Write)

by John Lee Clark
Print Only

The author of How to Communicate shares his best tips on how to create a generative writing environment despite—or perhaps because of—his feline coworker’s presence.

Twelve Ways to Resurrect the Dead, Which Is to Say: To Write

by Lars Horn
Print Only

The author of Voice of the Fish invites writers to confront mortality (and writing) with a collection of works addressing, mourning, and memorializing death.

Twelve Reasons You Should Keep Writing

by Sarah Ruhl
Print Only

The award-winning playwright, poet, and essayist shares her reasons to keep writing.

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
Print Only

Write a poem in the form of an unapologia, a story about two characters who decide to keep a secret, or an essay about your personal history of Valentine’s Day.

Dear Poetry: Reflections on the Healing Power of Verse

by Luisa Beck
Print Only

The creator and host of the podcast Dear Poetry explores the practical power of poetry and contemplates the process of choosing poems to heal, comfort, and brighten daily life.