poetry discussion lists

Poetics List: Our aim is to support, inform, and extend those directions in poetry that are committed to innovations, renovations, and investigations of form and/or/as content, to the questioning of received forms and styles, and to the creation of the otherwise unimagined, untried, unexpected, improbable, and impossible.

Wom-po: An international listserv devoted to the discussion of Women’s Poetry. Membership is open to all individuals who are interested in discussing poetry written by women. The discussion covers women poets of all periods, aesthetics, countries, and ethnicities.

NewPoetry List: Has two purposes: information and discussion related to contemporary poetry. We welcome publication announcements, reviews, essays, open letters, quotes, news items, calls for submissions, and, of course, poems and your commentary.


These are the three I know of and it’s quite surprising how long it took me to gain awareness of their existence, and then to actually sign up for them. I haven’t determined the exact List Serv Ratio of Noise to Substance for any yet, but so far so good, in all three cases.

Are there any other poetry lists out there that no-one’s told me about?

tongues of the ocean

My poem three provinces and their king is up at Tongues of the Ocean, the new interactive poetry journal edited by Scavella. I really like the format of this new journal — the first edition unveiled two new pieces every Sunday, in a combination of written and spoken word pieces. For the latter you actually have to listen without the text, which has been a revelatory and very enjoyable experience for me. I look forward to seeing where Tongues of the Ocean goes with its second issue. Check out the energy and dynamism in some of the excellent work on display there, and send in your submissions for the June edition!

Thanks and congrats, Scavella!

I allude, you allude, we allude

the mother of Pelops
to her husband

I stand close to you

my body ripe
and calling, scented
as apricot and lime
with musk

your throat muscles
stand up in ridges

I am the fresh water
you cannot reach
the cold scarlet fruit
you crave

I stand apart from you

may you live


An old piece dusted off.  I was workshopping regularly (and very deferentially) at the time I first wrote it, and remember getting a blistering workshop response. As I recall, my critic blasted me for presenting a piece relying on ‘obscure’ mythological allusions and declared in so many words that she didn’t give two hoots whose husband or wife did what to whom, or when, she wanted all the poetic evidence I was purportedly presenting to be, in fact, presented.

I think she was having a bad day, but wish I had thought at the time to link to my evidence. I mean, really.

Hobble Creek Review

My poem Sylhet is up at Hobble Creek Review, edited by Justin Evans. I’m getting a giant kick out of being up there with a bunch of very cool poets — including Sarah Sloat, Rachel Mallino, Collin Kelley and C.E. Chaffin. Check it out.

Great-looking issue, Justin – many thanks and congrats!

woe is us

“.. what we need in poetry are more people who don’t have a stake in it, more people who don’t know the people, the real people behind the words to care about poetry enough to write about it. This is true in every other field, it seems, but us. This is a problem because there is hardly any “demand” for poetry beyond practicing poets.”

Victoria Chang making an excellent point. When was the last time you read a review of someone’s poetry by a practicing poet that said: I consider this work weak, for the following reasons…?

Either people (and that includes me) say stuff is great, or they say nothing. I’ve been on a recent roll of ordering and reading chapbooks and collections by poetry blogosphere poets. Some of it is really good stuff and I have been and will continue to write enthusiastically about it.

Some of it, though, makes me go WTF?! and wonder what the publishing world and standards in general are coming to. I could defend my WTF reactions meaningfully and respectfully in reviews, I think, but I’m choosing not to. Choosing not to even begin to go there.

For snivelingly cowardly reasons, mostly related to my self-interest as an aspiring poet myself.

Woe is me. And us. Where are we going to get the critical feedback we really need, if we’re all so busy scratching each other’s backs…?

Related post here.