What I’m Up To

I don’t know whether I’ve “made it” yet as a poet, but I’ve at least reached a level where there are enough acceptances to offset the rejection notices (though those do still arrive, and do still sting a bit). In the past year, I’ve had poems in Literary Mama, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and the Aurorean. Others will appear this winter and spring in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Cider Press Review, and Exit 13.

Now that I feel like I’ve (somewhat) hit my stride, I’d really like to help others do the same. One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve read through various literary publications (not necessarily the ones listed above) is that every now and then, you’ll see a typo that lifts you right out of the flow of the piece for a second. Whether it’s a misspelling or one of those tricky homophones or near homophones (affect/effect, adverse/averse, etc.), I find it a bit jarring, and then it’s hard to settle down into the piece again. Now, the fact that I’m reading them means that typos, incorrect word choices, and other errors don’t always prevent a good piece from being published. But don’t you cringe a little when you realize you’ve submitted something with errors in it — and there they are, irrevocably in print?

And if you’re just starting out, or if you have an especially important manuscript, wouldn’t it be great to have someone flag those errors for you so you can remove them … before you submit your work? It seems to me that you can’t trust your spouse, friend, random passerby, or other manuscript reader to spot every potential problem. And you can’t necessarily rely on editors of literary publications to catch every single thing, either. It’s not that they’re bad editors — they’re dealing with a tremendous volume of “stuff,” and they’re reading more for literary merit than for spelling, grammar, and so forth. That’s as it should be.

That’s where I come in. Or where I’d like to, anyway. When I’m not writing poetry, I’m working as an editor at a nationwide professional association. I manage one publication and assist with another. I plan articles, assign them, write them, and edit them (for accuracy, flow, style, and that certain je ne sais quoi) once they come in. I’ve been at my current job for a decade, and in the general realm of editing and publishing for about 15 years. I have a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in journalism. Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if there’s a way to bring together my editor side and my poet side, by helping other emerging writers polish their work. Whether it’s a poem, a short story, a nonfiction piece, or “other,” I can either give you a no-holds-barred assessment, or I can withhold my personal opinion and just copy edit it for you. If I have any thoughts regarding where you might submit, I can share those, too. I’m just getting started, and this is work I’d love to do (and I know how expenses can add up, with all those sample copies) — so I can be very flexible with pricing. Just let me know what you need, and we’ll work something out.

So that’s my story. What’s yours … And may I please edit it for you?