Friday, March 19, 2010

Discovery Friday: 32 Poems

Local poet Deborah Ager, one of the founding editors of the excellent literary journal 32 Poems, is my guest today.

Tell us about 32 Poems. What separates it from other literary journals?

I started 32 Poems in 2003 with John Poch. We're celebrating our seventh anniversary with plenty of chocolate cake.

The magazine contains 32 Poems, helps promote the writers it publishes, and fits into a purse without breaking your shoulder in half. Poems that first appeared in 32 Poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry and Best New Poets anthologies and on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. Poets we've published include Heather McHugh, Billy Collins, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Medbh McGuckian, Jennifer Militello, Amit Majmudar, and Jehanne Dubrow.

Please come visit us at the 32 Poems blog and join the 32 Poems Facebook page.

How did you come up with the concept of 32 Poems?

I wanted to create a magazine that would break all the lightbulbs in every house. To do that, I created a recipe of one gig poster designer (Dirk Fowler), one hard working poet/editor (John Poch), one layout designer (Rikki Campbell at pixiedesign), and myself. My goal was a magazine with 32 poems that would publish work that takes off the top of your head AND your socks. The final magazine would have to be print and be easy to slip into a shoulder bag.

What would you like our readers and members to know about you?

My book Midnight Voices was published in 2009 and signed copies can be had at Last year, I received a Walter E. Dakin Fellowshp to attend the Sewanee Writers' Conference, three of my poems were nominated for a Pushcart, and I was awarded a Cafritz Foundation Fellowship. This year, we learned 32 Poems had another poem taken for the new Best American Poetry anthology. My poems have appeared in Los Angeles review, The Georgia Review, New England Review, New South, and Quarterly West.

I love speaking to groups and classes. Recently, I spoke to students at Grinnell College and Drake University. In the coming months, I'll speak to students at Catholic University and SUNY Fredonia. If any teachers out there would like me to talk with students, they can contact me at deborah (at)

Can you tell us a little bit about what you like to publish?

After editing a magazine for seven years, it becomes easier to figure out what is desired and harder to describe. Emily Dickinson said it best when she talked about a good poem creating a physical experience. I want a poem that has something to say and that says it with music, sense, and style.

What advice do you have for anyone submitting a manuscript?

If you have not submitted before, please read the submission guidelines at the 32 Poems website. Support the print journals you want to publish your work by buying them. At only $14 per year, 32 Poems Magazine is less than cable and offers gig poster art.

1 comment:

Serena said...

What a great interview and very insightful.