I’ve had a subscription to Poets & Writers for a few months, and I highly recommend a subscription for amateur and professional wordsmiths alike. Each issue is devoted to an important part of being a writer: finding a literary agent, choosing an MFA program, establishing a writing community, staying passionate and inspired.
The November/December 2011 issue–the Community issue–featured a profile of Joan Didion and an excerpt from her recently released memoir, Blue Nights. But there were other goodies tucked in its pages as well: a discussion of the evolving state of literary magazines, a humorous examination of the state of bookstores, a guide to social networks, and lists of upcoming contests and conferences, among others.
Unlike glossy magazines, which seem designed to be leafed through, Poets & Writers pulls me into each article and I end up spending hours on each issue. The magazine has a literary and somewhat academic feel to it. This is a serious publication for serious writers. Each issue is dense with information and advice for new and established word-wranglers.
Surprisingly, the advertisements in the magazine feel like a cohesive part of the publication. Information on MFA programs, fellowships, and independent publishers sprinkle the pages; if you are thinking of studying writing or publishing a work, this is a good resource for you.
Beyond being a source of information, however, the magazine serves a much more important role: community-building. It’s no secret that writing can be a very isolated and isolating activity, but whenever I receive Poets & Writers, I am reminded that I am part of a vibrant community of writers. I’m always encouraged to look at a very familiar and beloved activity in new ways, and I always end up being prompted to write something after reading even a few minutes. Priceless!
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Subscription Saturday is a way for me to keep track of the print and digital publications that I’ve been reading lately.
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