Welcome to January’s edition of “Dear Poetry Editor” at the Chicago Review of Books. To offer a glimpse into who is shaping the content in literary magazines, I’m asking poetry editors about their perspective on poetry and the details of their own editorial process, reaching from established traditional publications to new indie literary journals, including Adrienne, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Boxcar Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Granta, Guernica, Poetry, New York Times Magazine, The Rumpus, and many more.
Blas Falconer is Poetry Editor at The Los Angeles Review, as well as the author of The Foundling Wheel (Four Way Books, 2012); A Question of Gravity and Light (University of Arizona Press, 2007); and The Perfect Hour (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2006). He is also a co-editor for The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity (University of Arizona Press, 2011) and Mentor & Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010).
Falconer’s awards include a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant, the New Delta Review Eyster Prize for Poetry, and the Barthelme Fellowship. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his family.
On Perspectives of Poetry
“Opinions vary considerably, I imagine. I always found it interesting that so many complain that contemporary poetry is inaccessible while so many others seem to think that it’s sentimental and contrived.”
“I try to remain open to different kinds of poetry, but generally I am most engaged when I can sense the poet discovering something within the poem. It has an urgency that’s difficult to fake.”
“I’ve recently joined the LAR team, so I’m still getting a sense of people’s perception of the journal.”
“Nothing comes to mind; however, I can’t help but think of something that I wish I had published. Many years ago, when I first became an editor at Zone 3: A Literary Journal, my friend Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan sent me an unforgettable lyric essay about impermanence. I was deeply moved by the work but I did not publish it because I was new to the journal and the essay didn’t fall neatly into any one genre. Recently, this remarkable person and writer passed away. I wish that I could read that essay now—that everyone could—but I don’t think that it’s in print. There’s an important lesson for me here about being too tentative, about being too narrow-minded in regard to style and genre.”
To Submit: The Los Angeles Review is open for submissions year-round.
Ruben Quesada is a poet and translator. His chapbook of poetry and translations, Revelations, is available from Sibling Rivalry Press. He teaches poetry for UCLA Writers' Program and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Arte Américas, one of the largest Latino cultural centers in California.