Publishing Poems in Literary Journals
Facilitator: Justin Bigos
Dates: April 8 – May 3, 2019
Class Size: 10
The literary publishing “landscape” can feel daunting, not only for writers just beginning to send outtheir work, but also for writers who have been writing and publishing for years. One reason for this is a good thing: the sheer number and vast array of literary journals and presses that are doing wonderful work in promoting literary writing, especially poetry. But it does make for a crowded field.
So, how does a writer successfully publish poetry in literary journals? In this course, you will receive a head-start to answering that question. Together we will take a look at a sampling of magazines,both online and in print. You will receive my take on a handful of journals, as I “review” an issue ofeach for editorial judgment; you will then do the same for each other, with one journal issue of your choice. You will also get from me, as a co-founder and current Poetry Editor of Waxwing magazine, a behind-the-scenes look at why I (and my Co-Editor, Todd Kaneko) chose particular poems out of the thousands sent to us in the “slush pile.” Finally, you will workshop each other’s poems, focusing on publication, including a description of the “ideal editor” for your peers’ poems. This class ismeant to stimulate your own writing by giving you the sense—dare I say, the courage to believe—that the ideal readers for your poems are out there, and they are waiting at their editorial desks foryour shimmering words to arrive. Let’s go find those editors.
Justin Bigos co-founded Waxwing magazine in 2015. The magazine has a worldwide readership andhas reached over a million people, in part due to the viral poem “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith,which first appeared in Issue IX. Poems in Waxwing have been included in Best American Poetry, Best of the Net, Bettering American Poetry, and other anthologies. Justin is author of the poetry collection Mad River (Gold Wake, 2017), as well as the chapbook Twenty Thousand Pigeons (iO, 2014); his writing appears in such venues as Ploughshares, McSweeney’s Quarterly, The Rumpus, and The Best American Short Stories 2015. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, Justin Bigos lives in Vermont, where he serves on faculty at the MFA Program in Writing & Publishing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.