Poets & Writers Magazine welcomes feedback from its readers. Please post a comment on select articles at pw.org, 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.
Feedback from readers
In “Going Solo: Selling Your Book Without an Agent” (July/August 2022), Michael Bourne suggests contacting a friend with publishing smarts or hiring an attorney specializing in publishing law to review your book contract. I’m surprised he didn’t also recommend what I’ve done on three of my four books: Make use of the legal contract review services available to members of the Authors Guild (authorsguild.org).
Los Angeles, California
Thank you for the excellent and timely article on neurodivergent poets in the July/August 2022 issue (“Centering Neurodivergent Poets” by Brian Gresko). I promptly tore it out and sent it to one of my adult nieces who will be the special education instructional coach for the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District in South Texas beginning this upcoming academic school year. Her special interest in teaching is autism. She ends several years of teaching students with special needs, several of whom are nonverbal, and her new job will include high school students—an apt place for Gresko’s topic to take root. Even though this district is less than a blip on the educational radar screen, this is where change and growth begin. Thank you for giving a voice to future poets and a voice to the future of poetry. May many other school districts follow this lead.
Sister Lou Ella Hickman
Corpus Christi, Texas
Antonia Angress’s stunning piece “Sanctuary: How My Mother’s Art Shaped Me as a Writer” was so thrilling that I ordered a copy of the July/August 2022 issue for an artist-writer friend. “Sanctuary” gives me hope because I’ve dismissed my own writing journey. Currently I am sniveling through my editor’s comments in a second draft of a prescriptive memoir. It is a developmental draft, and I’ve been bracing myself for round three. But “Sanctuary” tells me that it is finally safe to breathe out. Draft three will be workshopped in a well-chosen writers group. Angress’s vulnerable, brilliant work is a reminder that despite working from home and living solo, I do not write and have never written in a vacuum.
Santa Barbara, California
As the winner of the 2006 AWP Prize in nonfiction, I can attest to the benefits of winning a literary contest as described in Katie Arnold-Ratliff’s “Writing Contest Success Stories” (May/June 2022). I’d like to add one more: a platform to encourage your fellow writers. This past May, in support of a friend, I attended the surprisingly informal graduation ceremony of the University of Iowa nonfiction MFA program. It largely consisted of a public reading by the graduates. But the talent of this group was off the charts; I would have paid to hear them. Yet in speaking with a few of them the following day at a party, more than one appeared genuinely pleased when I told them, “If I can do it, so can you.”
“Book Prize Celebrates Older Poets” by liz gonzález incorrectly stated that Mark Elber studied with Peter Levine. Elber studied with poet Philip Levine.