Lisa Ampleman, Poetry Series Editor
When I read a book of poetry, I want to know early on what’s at stake for the speaker—or for the work itself, if there’s no central “I”—and to see a clear progression of that central concern as the reader moves through the poems. I want to know that something matters for the poet and the manuscript. I also will be looking for verse that sets my skin on fire; that’s a hard quality to define (I respond to traditional and experimental forms, as well as everything in between), but I recommend sending us polished work with rich diction that makes the subjects seem new and with enough variety in style that the poems don’t all sound the same. Though I will collaborate with writers on edits, possibly including order, I especially love finding books thoughtfully arranged by their authors, with sections that highlight the poems’ best features and lead to that sense of progression, whether through narrative, themes, or tone. I love a book that teaches you how to read it and fulfills the expectations it sets up in the first few pages—or unmistakably and purposefully challenges them.