Poetry News

Victoria Chang on Where to Find Intriguing Poetry

By Harriet Staff

Victoria Chang, over at Ploughshares, names a handful of small presses putting out contemporary poetry that excites her.

She states in her intro:

As a poet, I am always trying to do new things with my own work, trying to push my own boundaries so that I don’t end up writing the same poem over and over in the same way for the rest of my life.

The tough question is, how does one do this? Beyond living my life and growing as a person with different life experiences, blah blah blah, which can all be painfully slow for an impatient writer like me, the other thing I try to do is to read a lot of poetry. But not just any poetry. I try to read the most intriguing work. By intriguing, I mean work that is different from my own and work that pushes some kind of boundary, that makes me reconsider how I perceive something. I then pray that somehow my own work will absorb some of what I’m reading and become newer in its own way too.

Throughout this process, what I’ve noticed over the past few years, is that some of the most intriguing poetry is being published by small (and sometimes new) presses or series—admittedly, I’ve asked a few friends and colleagues for suggestions too. By small presses, I think this includes poetry imprints at university presses with new leadership. This is not to say that all the work being published by larger more established publishers is not worthy of our attention or not interesting, but rather the work at small presses might be particularly worth our attention.

To read her list go here. Keep an eye on these posts as Chang plans to "track down and interview some of these small press souls, many of whom publish beautiful innovative books out of their bedrooms or basements, sometimes edited virtually across different cities."

Originally Published: May 7th, 2012