Black Lawrence Press

Far Villages: Welcome Essays for New and Beginner Poets

Poetry manuals, at their most essential, are aimed at demystifying aspects of poetry, in order to make poetry less daunting – especially for beginner poets. Such manuals are also reminders that poetry itself is a discipline with a landscape and a history. Far Villages builds on the body of work in this tradition by bringing a number of established and emerging poets together in a single volume to welcome new and beginner poets to the art of poetry, its craft, and the long journey within it.


Contributors to this anthology include:

Abayomi Animashaun, Jose Araguz, Stacey Balkun, Chaun Ballard, Christine Beck, David Bergman, Marina Blitshteyn, Michelle Bonczek, DanielBosch, Zoe Brigley, Aaron Brown, Guillermo Cancio-Bello, Rob Carney, Kelly Cherry, Michael Collins, Tasha Cotter, Rishi Dastidar, Noah Davis, Victoria L. Davis, Todd Fleming Davis, Jaydn DeWald, Melanie Faith, Jenny Ferguson, Kyle Flak, Leonard Franzen, Robbie Gamble, John Guzlowski, David Harris, Duane L. Herrmann, Jon Hoel, Natalie Homer, Kathryn Hummel, Ashton Kamburoff, Laura Kaminski, C. Kubasta, John Langfeld, Joan Leotta, Tanis MacDonald, David Maduli, Katie Manning, Michael Martin, Jason McCall, Nathan McClain, J.G. McClure, Megan Merchant, Amy Miller, Norman Minnick, Jennifer Moore, James B. Nicola, Dike Okoro, Stephen Page, Gillian Parrish, Barbara Perry, Kevin Pilkington, Darby Price, Jessamine Price, Michael Rather, Jr., Nancy Reddy, Christine Riddle, John Robinson, Diana Rosen, Helen Ruggieri, Claudia Savage, Nancy Scott, David Shumate, Linda Simone, Tara Skurtu, Carol Smallwood, Emily Stoddard, WhitneySweet, Thom Tammaro, Sophia Terazawa, Kari Treese, J.S. Watts, Kari Wergeland, Ben White


  • Ooh! I love this book, love hearing others speak about their craft, their muses and monsters. Filled to the brim with all things poetry, this book offers beginners (and experienced writers because there is always something more to learn) a place to start, where to go next—and what might happen there. These essays are enabling and encouraging and useful. They speak not only to process but also to the life of the poet, the business of poetry and the need for literary citizenship and community. This is a book I’ll return to again and again! Readers will, too. And get a fountain pen!!

    —Karla Huston, Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2017—2018
  • More than a window, a welcome. Thoughtfully crafted—full of wisdom and practical advice—this book offers an invitation into the world of poetry, demystifying the writing process and dismantling the lore that often prevents emerging writers from seeing themselves as poets. Far Villages: Welcome Essays for New & Beginner Poets is essential reading for anyone with tattered notebook pages that curl and lift into wings. Whoever you are, whoever you wish to become through language, this book is for you.

    —Amy Ash
  • The special pen, or sliver of eavesdropping, or the book that will change your life; the night table or bus ride where scraps of writings happen—these are just a few of the magical elements the practitioners gathered in this inspiring anthology call on to sing and to guide new poets inside the mysteries of poem-making. The marketplace of publishing beckons and glitters, but these poet-essayists remind us that the best feeling in the world is finding oneself in the middle of writing a poem. Humor, sharp prosodic strategies and prompts, advice about submitting, and some very cool personal anecdotes, alongside several daunting and stark accounts, hallmark every section of this anthology. There’s wisdom and guidance in every essay. Far Villages is invaluable for beginners, to be sure, but also for poets teaching new writers, poets in-between poems, and poets who’ve been writing a while and are thirsty to refresh. This smart and unusually various academic and personal text serves as revivifying reminder that the welcome itself sustains new American writing.

    —Judith Vollmer
  • In Far Villages, poet-editor Abayomi Animashaun has performed an act of love. A self-described anthology of “welcome essays for new & beginner poets,” the essays freely invite the novice poet into a company of friendly strangers who recast the anxiety of influence in terms of mentorship. Readers will find that the innovative chapter headings, beginning with “Hello and Welcome…”all the way to the final chapter called “A Way of Seeing the World,” are likewise refreshing in the willing patronage the book offers to the apprentice poet. Drawing from diverse poetic traditions, Far Villages is a vital addition in the field of new and evolving poetics.

    —Claudia Keelan

Abayomi Animashaun

Abayomi Animashaun is a Nigerian émigré. He holds an MFA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and
a PhD from the University of Kansas. His poems have appeared in several print and online journals, including 
Diode, TriQuarterly, The Cortland ReviewAfrican American ReviewSouthern Indiana ReviewThe Adirondack Review, Passages North, and Versedaily. A recipient of the Hudson Prize and a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation, Abayo is the author of three poetry collections, Seahorses, Sailing for Ithaca, and The Giving of Pears, and the editor of three anthologies, Far Villages: Welcome Essays for New & Beginner Poets, Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America, and Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa (with Spectra, Tatenda Muranda, Irwin Iradunkunda, and Timothy Kimutai). A member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, Abayo teaches writing and literature  at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and lives with his wife and two children in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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