Black Lawrence Press

Poetry Consultations with Jenny Drai

During the month of February, Black Lawrence Press author Jenny Drai is on board to critique in-progress poetry manuscripts. Jenny is an award-winning author who has published two chapbooks, three full-length poetry collections, and a novella. She is accepting everything from individual poems to full-length manuscripts for critique. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are 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 February 28. Jenny will complete her work and respond to all participants by March 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

As an editor, I begin by trusting the writing. I view each poem or manuscript as a world-building exercise in and of itself. When consulting on your manuscript, I’ll step into the world you’ve created and work within the given parameters to strengthen the building blocks of that world, from the ground level up. When necessary, I’ll gently encourage you to broaden the horizons of this world and I’ll offer concrete advice on how to accomplish this.

In general, my taste in poetry is truly eclectic, but I especially enjoy work that engages with and/or interrogates myth, fairy tales, history, and other works of, or traditions within, literature. I’m also interested in how/if/when poetry can intersect with genre writing (i.e., science fiction, fantasy, etc.).

Some questions I’ll ask as I consult on your manuscript:

Does the writing grab and hold my attention? (I’ll draw on my experience as a reader for a chapbook contest and as an editor for a literary journal here.) In cases where the writing doesn’t grab my attention, where can the writer push gently to get more out of the language?

Is there an overall arc to the collection? Do the poems talk to each other and create compelling connections as they are ordered in the manuscript?

How well are line breaks working in individual poems, or in the case of prose poetry, is there enough tension in the language to create energy as one sentence flows into another?

Is the imagery specific and evocative, or are there instances where the writing may be too abstract?

How does form help to create meaning in the individual poems and within the overall scope of the manuscript? Are there instances when slight alterations in form might serve to clarify what the poem is trying to say?

And more…

Select links to my published work:
Poems from “antipsychotica” at Queen Mob’s Tea House.
Poems from “antipsychotica” at Foundry Journal.
Excerpts from The New Sorrow Is Less Than the Old Sorrow (prose poetry) at Horse Less Review.
Poems, “[a little bit gone]” and “[a new genre of honest phrases]” in Dusie.
Poem, “Hearst Castle Lullaby II,” at Everyday Genius.
Story excerpt, “Where Our Lives Take Place,” at OmniVerse.
Story excerpt, “A Brief History of One Bath,” in Pleiades.
Essay, “Bewildered Physical Spaces,” at Banango Street.


By Jenny Drai

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

March – Creative Nonfiction Consultations with Louella Bryant

Jenny Drai

Jenny Drai is the author of three collections of poetry, including Wine Dark (Black Lawrence Press) and [the door] (Trembling Pillow Press). Two poetry chapbooks have also been published. They are The New Sorrow Is Less Than The Old Sorrow (Black Lawrence Press) and :Body Wolf: (Horse Less Press). A novella, Letters to Quince, was awarded the Deerbird Novella Prize and published by Artistically Declined Press. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, including American Letters and Commentary, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, and The Volta, among others. In addition, she was recently awarded the 2017 Gail B. Crump Prize in Experimental Fiction from Pleiades Magazine. She studied literature and foreign languages at Beloit College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. She blogs about her current project (a novel about Beowulf, bees, and queens), neurodivergence, and transatlantic life, and posts photos from her travels at She lives in Bonn, Germany.  

Drai Author page