Black Lawrence Press

Poetry Consultations with Michele Battiste

During the month of April, Black Lawrence Press authors Charlotte Pence, Cynthia Manick, and Michele Battiste are on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Individual Poems, up to 2 pages in length, $10
  • Folios, up to 7 pages in length, not to include more than 5 poems, $30
  • Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
  • Full-length collections, 45-80 pages in length $250

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

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

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

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.

Click Here to Submit

Statement of Purpose

I am compelled by what poems say, but I’m intrigued and mystified by how they say it. I love poetry because of its alchemic properties, its ability to use common language to transform and to conjure, to make language transcend itself. And I am most transported by a poem that has abandoned its relationship with the writer to establish a relationship with its reader.

When working with other poets, my focus is less on what their poems say, more on the actions their poems take. My first responsibility when considering your work is understanding what it wants to achieve and honoring that. In other words, I’ll concentrate on the poem’s intentions (or what I perceive to be its intentions) and what it does to fulfill them. You and I may differ in what we think the poem’s purpose is, and the space between our differences is where we’ll work. That space is what makes the consultation interesting and worthwhile.

I’ll also explore what the poem accomplishes beyond its intentions or the potential directions the poem make be taking, possibly without your awareness. While I’ll do my best to put myself in your shoes as the writer of the poem, I am, first and foremost, the reader. And so I come to your work with – and make use of – dual experiences: analyzing what the poem is doing and my reaction to it.

In my own work, I like to play with documentation, narrative arc, the aural quality of language, and variations on a theme. I may push a sequence further than it should go, and I probably have more poems about “place” that one poet should. In other people’s poems, I enjoy language play, engagement with the external world, a clever volta, and an unapologetic voice that doesn’t claim universality. Poets I read and enjoy range from Gertrude Stein to Albert Goldbarth, and I spend most of my reading time with playful contemporary American poets, though I’m often most moved by poets working with gravid subject matter (Claudia Rankine, Julie Carr).

By Michele Battiste

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

May – Fiction Consultations

June – Creative Nonfiction Consultations

Michele Battiste

Michele Battiste is the author of two poetry collections: Ink for an Odd Cartography (2009) and Uprising (2013), both from Black Lawrence Press. She is also the author of four chapbooks, the most recent of which is Lineage (Binge Press, 2012).  Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines such as American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry ReviewAnti-, The Awl, and Verse Daily, and her reviews have appeared in Rain Taxi, Open Letters Monthly, and Rattle. She has received grants, awards, and residencies from The Center for the American West, AWP, the Jerome Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Poetry Society of Virginia, and the Blue Mountain Center. Michele has taught creative writing and literature at Wichita State University, the University of Colorado, and Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, but she currently raises funds for nonprofits undoing corporate evil.

Battiste © photo by Tom Sundro Lewis Author page