Understanding Editors, Contemporary Poetry, and Your Own Work

Saturday, April 18, 2015 | KSU Center, Room 300 | 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

William Wright

In the overwhelming world of poetry publishing—the innumerable journals and editors, as well as the innumerable poets attempting to publish—it’s often discouraging, even disenchanting, to attempt to figure out how to find one’s way into publication. While it’s impossible to understand intuitively the countless variables that lead to a publication (sympathetic editor, the journal’s aesthetic biases, editor’s mood, etc.), there are certain things poets can learn about the craft so that their work is noticed. As an editor myself, a lot of poetry hits my desk from all over the world, and much of it, unfortunately, is little more than lineated prose; that is, there is not much, if any, attention to craft.

During this workshop, William will speak about techniques that can distinguish your work from the pack, the “slush pile”—to increase your chances of being noticed in a market glutted with submissions. In this class, and through representative examples, he will dedicate half of the workshop to how good poetry works in distinction to lineated prose or “flat” poetry. Specifically, he will talk about sonic texture, and, by extension, musicality. He’ll also talk about imagistic richness, how to arouse the visual, olfactory, aural, tactile, and even gustatory senses. Third, he’ll talk about the balance of sound with sense–the poem needs to be coherent, and it must cater—in some form—to both the heart and the intellect.

I hope to embolden and encourage poets during this class and to help them identify ways to improve their work and more carefully attune their voice so that they stand out from the crowd.

Register Here

Members of the Georgia Writers Association receive free writers workshops. If you are a member, please log in and click here to view the promo code for this workshop. If you are not a member but are interested in learning more, click here.


William Wright is author of eight collections of poetry, four of which are full-length books, including Tree Heresies (Mercer University Press, 2015), Night Field Anecdote (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011), Bledsoe (Texas Review Press, 2011), and Dark Orchard (Texas Review Press, 2005). Wright is series editor and volume co-editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, a multivolume series celebrating contemporary writing of the American South, published by Texas Review Press. Additionally Wright serves as assistant editor for Shenandoah and is co-editor (with Daniel Cross Turner) of Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (forthcoming from the University of South Carolina Press). He is currently co-editor (with Daniel Westover) of The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins.