At Little Patuxent Review, we value all our submissions and do not take it for granted that poets and writers are willing to entrust their work and themselves to us. The process of going from a batch of submissions to a final journal is naturally then a very difficult one, both for the time involved and for the gut-wrenching decisions choosing one piece over another. Our readers are the unsung heroes of this process. In this next Q&A, we ask Dan Crawley, an LPR fiction reader, about his experiences as a reader. And thank you, Dan, for all your work and service to LPR and the Maryland literary community.
Dan Crawley’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, CHEAP POP, New Flash Fiction Review, and North American Review. He is a recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts creative writing fellowship and teaches fiction workshops and literature courses at various colleges and universities throughout Arizona.
Q: Why did you decide to become a reader for Little Patuxent Review?
A: Lisa Lynn Biggar, Little Patuxent Review’s Fiction Editor, was kind enough to invite me to come aboard as a reader for the Winter 2017 issue. She knows my work, and I’m glad she thought I could assist in selecting stories. And I’ve enjoyed every minute of reading such diverse and remarkable stories.
Q: Based on your experience with LPR, do you have any advice for fiction writers who are submitting to journals?
A: Many journals (print and online) accept simultaneous submissions, so it is tempting to “carpet-bomb” a story out to multiple journals that you’ve never heard of before. I think if you want to raise your percentage of acceptances, know the kind of writing a journal is looking for before submitting. Once you have studied the stories in a current issue (and back issues) of a journal, you’ll have a good idea if your story may be a good fit. Also, glaring grammar issues can thwart any chance of publication. First readers and editors do appreciate serious and professional writers.
Little Patuxent Review (LPR) will host its annual reading at The Writer’s Center on Saturday, March 17th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. We will feature artists from our Winter 2018 issue, including poets of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective (BLBC) and other readers of fiction and nonfiction. View the work of our featured artist, Paul Rucker. Join us for this exciting event and the opportunity to meet the authors, as well as editors and other staff of LPR. Refreshments will follow to start your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations early.
The Winter 2018 issue is available for purchase at this link.
Highlights from the Winter 2018 issue are available at this link.
The “Concerning Craft” series introduces Little Patuxent Review contributors, showcases their work and draws back the curtain to reveal a little of what went into producing it.
Our latest comes from Mary Makofske, whose poem “Museum of Dusty Metaphors” appeared in LPR’s Summer 2015 issue. More recently she is the recipient of the 2017 Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize and the 2017 New Millennium Poetry Prize. Her poem “Doldrums Near the End of Empire” appears on the New Millennium site. Her latest book is World Enough, and Time (Kelsay, 2017).
Inspiration and perspiration
Inspiration is real—that bolt of lightning out of nowhere, the whole line, or whole stanza, or whole poem which appears like magic. But that gift is, for most of us, rare, and it’s more likely we will receive such gifts when we’ve had years of practice. Jane Hirchfield says of the “gift” poem: “A person cannot speak much of ‘craft’ under those circumstances, except to the degree that craft is pressed into the psyche over a lifetime of reading and writing poems.”
No one who hasn’t studied and practiced for years is going to sit down at a piano and compose a symphony. We can’t expect poets to become expert without experience, either. Yes, there are the rare geniuses, but for most of us, some perspiration is required.
Inspiration for me has come not only from my own experience and observation, but though the poems of writers I admire. My poetry pantheon has challenged me to take on subjects and styles I feared. I read poems in two ways. One is analytical—reading a poem carefully and examining how it works. Is it a formal poem, such as a sonnet or sestina? If it is free verse, how is it structured? How does it use metaphor? Does it contain an “I” speaker? Does it address someone? How does it handle time? Where does the poem go? Where does it begin, how does it progress, how does it end?
Winter 2018 Issue: Launch on January 21, 2018, 2:00 pm
Oliver’s Carriage House
5410 Leaf Treader Way
Columbia, MD 21044
The winter 2018 issue launch will feature readings of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, a presentation of the Michael J. Clark Best of LPR Fiction Award, and a video presentation by artist Paul Rucker. Readers will include Katy Day (poetry), Edgar Garbelotto (fiction), and Aspen Stoddard (nonfiction), as well as members of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective.
Audience members can meet the contributors, purchase copies of LPR, and enjoy light refreshments. The complete program is available at this link.
Mary Makofske, whose poem “Museum of Dusty Metaphors” appeared in LPR’s Summer 2015 issue, has received the 2017 Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize and the 2017 New Millennium Poetry Prize. Her poem “Doldrums Near the End of Empire” appears on the New Millennium site.