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Poetry Consultations with Amelia Martens

During the month of April, Black Lawrence Press author Amelia Martens is on board to critique poetry manuscripts. Amelia is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat (2016), a book of prose poems, selected by Sarabande Books for the 2014 Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University and currently teaches at West Kentucky Community & Technical College, where she is the Associate Literary Editor for Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art. She is a Pushcart nominee and the author of four poetry chapbooks: Ursa Minor (winner of the 2017 Prose Poetry Prize from elsewhere magazine, 2018), A Series of Faults (Finishing Line Press, 2014), Clatter (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2013), and Purgatory (winner of the Spring 2010 Black River Chapbook competition; Black Lawrence Press, 2012). Her new poems appear, or are forthcoming in: Cave Wall,  Pidgeonholes, Plume, Diode, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Ninth Letter.

Amelia is accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

– Single poems, up to 2 pages in length, $20
– Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $50
– Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $195
– Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $325

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is April 30. Amelia will complete her work and respond to all participants by May 31.


Poetry Consultations with Amelia Martens

Click Here to Submit Deadline: April 30 How to submit ›

Statement of Purpose

In poetry and life, I am interested in relationships between form and function. I will read your work and ask how form and function play, what each lends, or what created frictions promote regarding the goals of the poem. Are your choices serving each other as well as they might? I’m also curious about the poem’s method of approach—on what it depends—image, sound, syntax, line, voice—and whether this keystone is well formed. My eye and ear want to know if the poem is doing what it emphasizes well. If the poem provides a decoder ring, does it work consistently with this code?

In my own work, and in much of what I read, sound-play continues to be significant. I will read your poems aloud to better understand the unit of rhythm (line, stanza, sentence, white space) utilized. Diction choices and attention to connotative meaning will also be examined—are you getting the most out of each word in terms of emotional impact, potential meaning, and precise image? Is the world of the poem well developed, by whatever means you have put to the task? Is the voice authentic to itself and coherent (or if not, is that intentional)? Of importance too—is there a space for the reader in the poem? I often fear being too clear and find out frequently the opposite is taking place in my poems. I am interested in the reader’s access into psychological space, and into the partnership of meaning making. Does the poem open to, or fight, the reader? For what purpose?

In my recent work, what I’m calling the “little world” and the “big world” tend to both be present; I am concerned with how the personal can be universal and how the universal can be personally significant. Thinking about the interactions of poems when put together, I like to use the analogy of paint colors; hues change depending on surrounding color context. A poem’s reading also depends upon what comes before and after it in the sequence.  I want the most out of each poem, so I will also focus on the relationships created, or potentially created, by the architecture of the manuscript. What information must the reader have first? What voices, worlds, keys, are offered in the opening poems? Is the reader taught how to read—taught the superstructures of the realm in the first few poems? Likewise, does the manuscript end or drain out? I will look for intent and how to facilitate what I perceive as your intentions for these poems. Recently, I’ve been working on pieces that stretch genres; I don’t quite know what they are—if you’re doing something unknown, I’d like to see it too.

Amelia Martens

Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat (Sarabande Books, 2016), and four poetry chapbooks, including Purgatory (which won the Spring 2010 Black River Chapbook competition) and Ursa Minor (forthcoming in 2018 from elsewhere magazine). She teaches at WKCTC in Paducah, KY and her writing has earned support from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She met her husband in the Indiana University MFA program; together they have created the Rivertown Reading Series, Exit 7: A Journal of Literature and Art, and two awesome daughters.

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How to Submit

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

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