A few of our intrepid New School MFA alumns recently returned to offer their insights on publishing. Dan Magers (class of 2005) of Sink Review and Immaculate Disciples Press, Jackie Clark (class of 2008) of Coldfront, Justin Marks (class of 2004) of Birds LLC, Alina Gregorian (class of 2009) of Bridge, and Mark Gurarie (class of 2011) of The Mental Marginalia Reading Series, shared their experiences and advice for writers attempting to navigate writerly and the editorial ambitions.
A few highlights ...
Dan Magers of Sink Review and Immaculate Disciples Press: "I [first] invented the press just so I could publish my own work [...] There's always a stigma against publishing your own work but when you're an indie band no one looks down on you for putting out your own demo."
Magers: "There's a good connection between editing & writing poetry, but as a rule of thumb, editing–publishing, making chapbooks– gets you out of your own head."
Magers: "The pay off, of going to school in New York versus Montana where you have a lot of time to write, is you're always surrounded by this hive of poetry and readings."
Clark: "Reading cover letters is a great learning experience, whose cover letter do you want to be: the one person who tells you every weird detail about their life, or the confident person who sends a simple bio?"
Clark: "Before I came to the New school I didn't feel like I could do anything. ... I didn't have a poetry community until I came here. We can be the people who do things like that."
Justin Marks, editor at the poetry press Birds LLC: "Our whole mission [is that] we're really interested in books that have trouble finding a home somewhere else."
Marks: "We want to give everyone the attention we would like to have on our own books."
Marks: "New School took Poetry–capital P–out of the ivory tower for me."
Marks: "I don't know where a poem begins or ends, it's just a book."
Marks: "It is our responsibility to keep the tradition going."
Alina Gregorian of Bridge: "[It was a] fluid process when we exited the MFA program and entered the real world, we were able to use the skills we learned–not showing up to class on time–but being able to maintain a rapport with your peers."
Gregorian: "Find those with whom you have a rapport and bind with them–but it's everyone–we like to write and think about poetry."
Gregorian: "We all have actual day jobs."
Mark Gurarie, of the Mental Marginalia Reading Series: "Like a lot of things, idleness had a lot to do with starting this reading series."
Gurarie: "A lot of the edits you get have more to do with the person who is giving the edits than the piece itself."
Gurarie: "It certainly demystifies the concept of community. ... Before the New School so much seemed inaccessible [but afterwards] we started getting names pre-New School we thought would've been impossible to get. It's just a matter of maintaining a community."
Dan Magers is co-founder and co-editor of Sink Review, an online poetry journal as well as founder and editor of Immaculate Disciples Press, a handmade chapbook press focused on poetry and visual arts collaborations. His poetry collection, Partyknife is available from Birds LLC. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and now lives in New York, NY. You can follow him on twitter @PartyKnife.
Sink Review is an online poetry journal that publishes poems and reviews. They publish an issue twice a year. Their latest issue offers poems from Melissa Broder, Curtis Perdue, Nick Sturm, Matthew Rohrer, Alina Gregorian, Jenny Zhang and more. Immaculate Disciples Press is a Brooklyn-based chapbook press specializing in poetry and poetry/visual arts collaborations.
Jackie Clark is a poet living in Jersey City. She is the series editor of Poets off Poetry and Song of the Week for Coldfront Magazine and a contributing writer for The Rumpus. She is the recipient of a 2012 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in poetry. Her first book of poems, Aphoria, is out now with Brooklyn Arts Press. You can follow her on Twitter @nohelpforthat.
Coldfront is an online journal that provides exhaustive, expert, unbiased journalistic and critical coverage of contemporary poetry and lyricism for poets, musicians, publishing houses and the reading and listening public. They publish reviews and essays about poetry and other topics. Jackie Clark edits the Poets Off Poetry series which features poets writing about contemporary music. You can follow them on twitter @ColdfrontMag.
Justin Marks is the author of A Million In Prizes, co-founder & editor of Birds LLC, copywriter, and the father of two three year twins. His work has appeared in La Petite Zine, H_NGM_N, McSweeney's, Tarpaulin Sky, and TYPO among others. You can follow him on twitter @justinmarkspb.
Birds, LLC is an independent poetry press based out of Austin, Minneapolis, New York, and Raleigh. Specializing in close author relationships, Birds, LLC believes that great books are a collaboration of editors and authors. Birds, LLC supports readings, events, and podcasts for its authors, believing that poetry demands a human voice to read it, and an audience to hear it. They publish 2 full-length books a poetry a year. Their two latest books are Rise in the Fall, by Ana Božičević and the forthcoming, The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather by Sampson Starkweather. You can follow them on twitter @Birdsllc.
Alina Gregorian's poems have been published in Sink Review, Boston Review, GlitterPony, and other journals. She co-curates Triptych Readings, and co-edits the collaboration journal Bridge. She teaches creative writing at Rutgers University, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her here: alinagregorian.tumblr.com or you can follow her on twitter @AlinaGregorian.
Bridge is a journal of poetry collaborations. Its first issue featured collaborations by Ben Estes, Ben Fama, Ben Kopel, Ben Mirov and Ben Pease; as well as David Lehman and David Shapiro; Paul Legault and Jocelyn Spaar; and Emily Pettit and Guy Pettit among others. You can follow them on twitter @BridgeCollab.
Mark Gurarie is a recent graduate of the New School's MFA program and resides in Brooklyn, New York. His poems have appeared in Spot Lit, The 16th & Mission Review, and The Case Reserve Review. In addition, he has a blog:taolinisgoingdownbutiremain.wordpress.com. You can follow him on twitter @chewspoppers.
The Mental Marginalia Reading Series is a Brooklyn based reading series that hosts readings the last Wednesday of every month. The next reading will take place on Wednesday, March 19th and features the readers: Farrah Field, Kiely Sweatt, Gabriel Kruis, Julia Guez, and Ryan Paul Schaefer. If you’re interested in reading for MM, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org