Black Lawrence Press

Poetry Consultations with Alan Chazar0

Alan Chazaro, who won both the Black River Chapbook Competition and The Hudson Prize, is on board to critique poetry manuscripts this month, and he’s accepting everything from single poems to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters are as follows:

  • Single poems up to 2 pages in length, $20
  • Folios of up to 5 pomes, up to 7 pages in length $50
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  • Full-length manuscripts, up to 80 pages in length, $325

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is December 31. Alan will complete his work and respond to all participants by January 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’m obsessive when it comes to reading and writing poetry–and what’s poetry if not an extreme and intimate obsession with a moment, a sound, a memory, and/or an idea you want to recreate? I try to listen deeply and feel what a poem wants to convey, how it is conveying it, and where it might be able to convey in new ways. I want to know what constellations of language and images a poet is creating within their work, and how I–as a reader–can operate within that galaxy. This requires a certain patience, awareness, love, and expertise that I provide to my own writing when I’m developing new material and to the poetry of my close friends and clients who ask for my involvement.

I trust that each poet has a sense of what they are doing, and how they are doing it. My job and pleasure is simply to take a look at what has been produced and find ways to sharpen what it could potentially be. If a poet is experimenting with non-traditional grammar, I’m thinking of ways I can help push that poet further in that direction. If a poet is reaching for a metaphor that maybe isn’t resonating, I’ll suggest alternatives based on what it seems the poet is going for. At the end of the process, I want the poet to feel that the vision they had for a poem, or collection of poems, is not only clarified, but strengthened in unexpected, surprising, and inventive ways that feel authentic to the voice that was created.

Besides teaching public high school English for nearly a decade (*bows for applause*), I’ve spent the majority of my years studying Literature at UC Berkeley and Creative Writing at the University of San Francisco for my MFA–simply to say that I love language, particularly poetry, and I’ve read just about every style possible, so I’ve honed my ability to connect and respond with writers of every age and background in order to help them move forward where they are currently at. Each writer is different, and each poem reveals its own secrets, so I approach each work with this intensity–and obsession. Rather than having a blanket feedback system of how I think a poem should change, I live in a poem or book until I can understand how to sustain it and help it grow. I particularly love reading collections because I can see how the arc of everything rises, crashes, or coalesces, and I find it the most useful as a poet myself to hear about how a family of poems is getting along from an outsider’s perspective.

With some time, trust, and a bit of soulfully corny commentary, you’ll receive concrete feedback and ideas at the micro and macro scale to help you navigate your next steps, whatever those may be.

By Alan Chazaro

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

Stay tuned! More great consultation programs are in the works for 2020.

Alan Chazaro

Alan Chazaro is a former high school teacher at the Oakland School for the Arts, Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco, and June Jordan Poetry for the People scholar at UC Berkeley. A Bay Area native, his poems have been featured in the San Francisco ChroniclePuerto del SolHuizacheAcentos Review, and Ninth Letter. He is a recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes.   His first poetry collection, This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album, was the winner of the 2018 Black River Chapbook Competition, and his second book, Piñata Theory, was awarded the 2018 Hudson Prize. They are both forthcoming with Black Lawrence Press. He will be living in Southern and Central Mexico for the next 10 months, so hit him up on Twitter or Facebook.

Chazaro © Iselle Kim Author page