Black Lawrence Press

Mixed Genre / Hybrid Consultations with Elizabeth J. Colen

During the month of September, Black Lawrence Press author Elizabeth J. Colen is on board to critique mixed genre and hybrid manuscripts; and she is accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

• Short pieces, up to 2 pages in length, $15
• Medium piece, up to 10 pages in length, $30
• Long pieces, up to 20 pages in length, $45
• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150
• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $250
• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $500

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font.

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

Genre is a story we tell ourselves in order to make the world understandable. Like the moon is to the east of the north star this day. Like north is north and east is east. The moon doesn’t believe in east, and the star doesn’t know what north is. It only knows its fission, which it doesn’t have a name for anyway.

This is to say, I don’t believe in genre. I believe a work stands or it falls regardless of what it’s called. The moon still there, nameless.

That is not to say there are no rules.

In the second century b.c., Terence said, “There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before.” The first rule is to make it beautiful, to push it up against some newness in presentation. Since, after all, you’re just repeating. The first rule is to bring focus into qualitative control. Where the reader looks, where the eye lingers, where the moon’s dark leaves a wet ring on the coffee table. The first rule is balance.

I read best from a surface place of enjoyment, loving the words for what they are, stung cold when they don’t perform, worse yet when a writer packs a page with loose and unnecessary sounds. Condense, condense. While I read to understand the deeper intentionality of a piece, it is the line-level urgency of communication I’m most interested in.

When constructing a whole book, the manuscript should move forward by way of narrative, concept, sound, or the building of image, accruing meaning through both intention (content) and intuition (sound).

My aesthetics are informed by ravenous reading habit, 2-4 books a week, with a focus on work that doesn’t rely on conventional means. It is my hope that by reading everything, all the secrets of language and story will unlock themselves, matrix-like before me. Writers I currently cannot live without include Maggie Nelson, Roland Barthes, John Keene, Rachel McKibbens, Carmen Machado, Gertrude Stein, Selah Saterstrom & Craig Santos Perez.

By Elizabeth Colen

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

Elizabeth Colen

Elizabeth J. Colen is most recently the author of What Weaponry, a novel in prose poems. Other books include poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2011) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies, flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake, long poem / lyric essay hybrid The Green Condition, and fiction collaboration Your Sick. Nonfiction editor at Tupelo Press and freelance editor/manuscript consultant, she teaches at Western Washington University.

Colen Elizabeth Author page