Monday, May 17, 2010

Journal Fest!

I just returned from the “Poetry Festival: A Celebration of Literary Journals” in West Caldwell, NJ. This annual event is organized by poet Diane Lockward, and features about a dozen poetry journals from the NY/NJ region. Editors of the journals have tables to sell their issues, give out submission guidelines and network with poets. They also invite two poets who have been published in their journal to read two poems each during an afternoon-long reading. There are also poets’ books for sale, refreshments and an assortment of freebies. It’s always a great way to spend an afternoon. I went with four of the five members of my poetry group, Quick and Dirty Poets. Two of our members, Kendall Bell and Anna Evans, represented The Raintown Review and Up and Under, respectively. Up and Under is our group’s own journal, and Don Kloss and I represented the journal at the reading. We were the last readers of the afternoon on the schedule, and Don got a good response for his two poems before I came up. I made some self-effacing remark about the pressure associated with being the closing poet of the festival, and then I read my two poems, “What to Play at My Funeral” and “The Conjoined Twin”. I was amazed at the response I got to the latter poem – about ten people came up to me afterward and told me how much they loved it, and two of them bought my chapbook on the spot, based on my reading of that poem. I sold three books in all that day, though I spent all the proceeds on other poet’s books and sample copies of journals. It was good to see a lot of poet friends and acquaintances there too. If you are within a few hours’ drive of this festival (usually held in May), I urge you to attend next time. Click here for Diane’s website if you would like to keep up with her news:

Also, here’s a list, with links if available, of this year’s participating journals:

Edison Literary Review

Exit 13

Journal of New Jersey Poets


New York Quarterly

Paterson Literary Review

The Raintown Review

Schuylkill Valley Journal


Up and Under: The QND Review

US 1 Worksheets

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