Poets & Writers Magazine welcomes letters from its readers. Please post a comment on select articles at www.pw.org/magazine,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.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.
Get Real, Baby
As the newly minted parent of a five-week-old, I eagerly turned to the article “Books and Babies” by Rochelle Spencer (March/April 2013). However, I was quickly disappointed by the homogenous circumstances of the parent-writers profiled. While single parents currently raise approximately a quarter of the kids in the United States, single-parent writers barely received a mention in this piece. Perhaps that is also why the strains of finances and child care were so quickly glossed over in the article. One couple stated that they can “only afford two hours of writing time each.” Two hours of writing time a day? As a single mother, I am typing this letter in the fifteen minutes I generally reserve for taking a shower while my daughter fitfully naps! It was particularly cruel then to turn the last page of the article and find myself faced with a series of writers retreats where young children are generally not welcome. What’s a single-parent writer to do? Finally, while having a partner in child rearing is not a given for a writer, it is doubly a privilege to share parenthood with someone who understands the importance of the writing life: By only profiling couples who are both writers, Spencer skips one of the greatest challenges of coparenting as an artist—the expectation that because your work takes place at home or is something you can do “anytime,” the writer-parent is the one more likely to carry the heaviest burdens of child rearing in the relationship. I hope that Poets & Writers Magazine will continue to cover the joys and trials of combining parenting with the writing life. I only hope that future discussions will be based in a reality with which more of us can identify.
Just for You
I don’t normally write fan mail, but the March/April 2013 issue was excellent. It seemed as if it were written specifically for me. I can completely relate to the issues parents face when they’re trying to pursue a writing career (“Books and Babies” by Rochelle Spencer). I enjoyed “The Aha! Moment: Amber Dermont at Bread Loaf” by Michael Bourne. I’ve been in a writing group for the past five years, and it’s been the best thing to happen to my writing. I hope you consider featuring similar articles in the future. And I was excited to find “Summer Work: A Writers Retreat Alternative” by Keith Taylor and read what he’s been up to over the past few years. I took Taylor’s workshop at the Bear River Writers’ Conference a few years back and really admire his work. Honestly, I found insight in every article and I’m looking forward to the next issue, so thank you!
Melissa Olson Cunningham
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Interest in Pinterest
Thank you for “Network: How to Use Pinterest to Connect With Readers” by Charlene Oldham (March/April 2013). I am just beginning to move into the networks beyond Facebook, and the article was simple to read, easy to understand, and gave me some thoughts about setting up [pinboards that are] dear to my heart and manifested in my book. As a senior, this can be overwhelming, but my grandkids tell me I’m getting much better at it.
Excerpted from a comment posted on pw.org by Lee
The name of Diane Lockward, winner of the Naugatuck River Review’s Narrative Poetry Contest, was misspelled in Recent Winners (March/April 2013).