Poet to Poet is a newsletter for writers and editors of poetry collections. With a focus on manuscript development, the newsletter pulls back the curtain on how poets progress toward a book, from the accumulation of fledgling drafts, to iteration and revision, to discovering the book’s driving themes and ideal structure, to finding and working with a publisher. In this newsletter, I’ll share what I’ve learned, and you’ll meet other published poets and their editors who’ll give us a look under the hoods of their latest books.

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Why Poet to Poet?

I’m an award-winning poet who has taught poetry for over 20 years. I get more questions about manuscript development than about any other topic from my students, and yet there aren’t many easy-to-find resources that discuss the manuscript-development process. I’m also a journalist who loves asking: What is vital to X and not well covered? In this case, how do poets sustain a creative practice, engage with core subject matters and themes, develop a successful collection of poems, and find a publisher? What do poetry editors/publishers look for in a manuscript? And how do they collaborate with authors? 

About Radha Marcum

My collection Bloodline won the New Mexico Book Award for Poetry in 2018, and my poems appear in journals like FIELD, West Branch, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, Iris, Chelsea, The Bellingham Review, and Poetry Northwest, among others. Recently “Fission: 1938″ garnered 1st prize from Pacifica Literary Review, chosen by Linda Bierds, and I’ve been a finalist for the FIELD Poetry Prize, the Alice James Beatrice Hawley Award, the Akron Poetry Prize, and the Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize. As the granddaughter of a physicist who helped develop the first atomic bombs (yes, yikes!), I am deeply attuned to the creative process—to the birth of breakthroughs. I have been fortunate to pursue two writing degrees, one at Bennington College (BA) and the other at the University of Washington, Seattle (MFA), where I held the Klepser Fellowship in Poetry. I have had the great pleasure of teaching writing and literature part-time at universities and colleges, community writing centers, conferences, and privately since 1999.

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On the process of writing and publishing poetry books.


Poet | Author of Pine Soot Tendon Bone (Washington Prize 2023) and Bloodline (NM-AZ Book Award 2018)