Friday, February 15, 2013


Happy Poetry Friday! The lovely, generous Linda Baie has Roundup at Teacher Dance.

Oh my goodness, have y'all been following Laura Shovan's amazing (birthday) postcard-poetry project? AMAZING. And fun and inspiring and not surprising at all, if you know anything about Laura.

But did you know Laura is also an accomplished editor? Yep! Which is why I invited her here today to don her editor's hat and give us some more information about the latest Little Patuxent Review, a lovely publication which happens to include a poem by yours truly. I'm thrilled to share space with some wonderful poetry and prose and original art. Perhaps all of you will submit something in the future? Read on!

IL: Give us a little history behind your involvement with Little Patuxent Review. 

LS: The new incarnation of LPR began in 2006. The journal had an earlier life in the late 1970s, early 1980s, a product of the social experiment that is Columbia, Maryland.

The founding editor, Michael R. Clark, was a high school English teacher in Howard County, where we publish the journal. During his editorship, Michael relocated to teach in Singapore, editing the journal via email. He stepped down in 2011.

Publishers Mike Clark (no relation) and Tim Singleton approached me about the editorship. I had been a regular contributor to LPR for a few years and was editing a poetry anthology for the Maryland Writers Association, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. I think Mike and Tim asked me because I had editing experience, a poetic sensibility they publishers liked, and I was already involved in the local literary community.

I have edited three issues of Little Patuxent Review, themed Make Believe, Audacity and Doubt. A fourth issue, Social Justice, was guest edited by poet Truth Thomas, who just won an NAACP Image Award (Speak Water). Working with Truth on that issue was wonderful experience.

IL: I found "Doubt" to be such a great theme to write (and read) about. How are themes chosen? 

LS: I’m glad you like the issue’s theme! Our loose staff of about fifteen people gathers two or three times a year. We are a pretty egalitarian group. At most meetings, we will spend time brainstorming and discussing upcoming themes. We try to balance heavier topics, such as Doubt, with something lighter. Our summer 2013 issue will be Music. Submissions are open now through March 15. Winter, 2014, we take on Science (reading period: 8/1/13 to 11/1/13). I hope we will have a guest editor for that issue.

We don’t give potential contributors much information regarding the theme. Leaving the topic open for interpretation is a way for us to attract a variety of views on each issue’s guiding topic.

What do you look for when you are selecting poems for LPR? (what can poets do to increase their chances of acceptance?)

Each submission is read by at least three staff members. We look for topics we have not seen explored in poetry before, but we also like favorite poetic themes that are given a fresh twist by the poet. We enjoy seeing experimentation – not for its own sake, but rather when it suits the logic of or the topic addressed by the poem.

I would advise submitters to read a sample issue of the journal to get a sense of our style. Reading LPR’s blog, edited by Ilse Munro, is another important resource. The series “Concerning Craft” includes past contributors, writing about how a poem or work of prose was constructed.

IL: How has your editing work with LPR influenced your writing?

Laura's chapbook
LS: Reading hundreds of poems for each issue has encouraged me to experiment with different poetic styles. I’d like to believe I am getting better at editing my own work.

The biggest positive, I think, is learning the art of putting an issue together – how to take the 30 or so poems, essays, stories, interviews and art profiles we have in each edition and construct a story that flows well. When it’s time for me to put together my own full-length book, I will approach that task with more confidence than I did with my chapbook.

IL: Anything else you'd like readers to know?

LS: We feature an interview with a nationally recognized author in each issue. These pieces, conducted by Susan Thornton Hobby, give wonderful insight into the craft of writing. Recent subjects have been Martin Espada, Edith Pearlman, and Michael

I am also excited to announce that LPR will be at the AWP Conference in March for the first time. We are sharing table X13 with the venerable Baltimore Review. Please stop by to say hello. I will have copies of the journal on sale for $10.

IL: Thank you, Laura! Keep the great work coming... and have fun at AWP!


  1. Oh wow, my eyes widened a little bit when I saw Singapore in this post. Interesting. It's great to see another Poetry Friday friend up here in your post, Irene! What a lovely interview. And yes, I didn't know that Laura was also an editor, very good to know. :)

    1. Yes, Myra, and she is a darn fine one at that! She helped me improve the poem I sent in... and the selections in LPR are wonderful! thanks for stopping by.

  2. Wonderful to hear more about Laura's work with LPR. Enjoyed this chat very much. Thanks, ladies!

    1. Thank you, Jama, for visiting! Laura is pretty amazing.

  3. Very insightful, helpful post! Thanks for sharing all this wisdom. And congratulations on having a poem in LPR!

    1. Thank you, Andi. So much wisdom among this poetry friday group. I appreciate you stopping by!

  4. Irene, I loved hearing more about Laura and her "other" poetry life. It must be exciting to be an editor, but also so difficult to try to choose just the right mix. It's also great to hear that one of your poems has been selected for this latest issue. Congratulations!

  5. This was a great post congrats on having a poem selected.

  6. Thanks, Irene, for sharing this. Editing LPR is my other poetry hat, usually quite separate from Author Amok and the Poetry Friday community. I appreciate your comments, everyone.


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