Black Lawrence Press

Poetry Consultations with Amelia Martens

During the month of July, Black Lawrence Press poet Amelia Martens is offering consultations on full-length poetry collections and poetry chapbooks.

Full-length manuscripts may be up to 75 pages in length. Chapbooks should be between 16 and 38 pages in length.  Manuscripts should formatted in 12 point font. The fees as $250 for manuscripts and $150 for chapbooks.

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

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!


Feedback From Previous Participants

“Thank you so much, Amelia! I very much appreciate your feedback and suggestions for reading! I’m thrilled to have been able to benefit from your expertise and will look for opportunities like this from Black Lawrence Press in the future!” –Wendy O.

“I find the consultation program quite helpful…Good stuff. It keeps the light burning.” –Frank L.

“THANK YOU. Amelia, your reading of the manuscript shows a deft understanding of how my poetry book could work. Your comments are both inspiring and clarifying. Gosh, I am excited about revising in light of your sensitive read. Money well spent!” –Daniela B.

“Amelia was wonderful; she read the manuscript carefully and offered perceptive comments that were very helpful. What was most helpful was her positive and encouraging spirit; it gave me hope and for that I am deeply grateful!” –Chris B.

Click Here to Submit

Statement of Purpose

In poetry (and life) I am interested in the relationships between form and function. I will read your work and ask how form and function blend, what each lends, or what the 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 does it depend—image, sound, syntax, line, voice—and whether this keystone is well formed. I 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. I read widely across genres (fiction, memoir, essay, news bites, children’s books, graphic novels, and poetry), but lately have focused more on voices less frequently included in popular anthologies—who else is out there and what are they doing? I want to know.

By Amelia Martens

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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Upcoming Consultations

August — Full-length short story collections with Kelly Magee & Full-length poetry collections with Bettina Judd


Amelia Martens

Amelia Martens received an MFA from Indiana University and works as an adjunct instructor at West Kentucky Community & Technical College. She is a co-founder of the Rivertown Reading Series, received an Emerging Artist Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council in 2010, and was just nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, her poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Whiskey Island, and Willow Springs. Her poetry chapbook, Purgatory, won the Spring 2010 Black River Chapbook competition and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012. Her second chapbook, Clatter, was published by Floating Wolf Quarterly in 2013. Her first full-length collection The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat was published by Sarabande Books earlier this year. She is married to the poet Britton Shurley; their collaborative projects include two daughters.

Martens Author page