Erica Goss recently told me about a new poetry email newsletter she’s starting for 2018, so of course, I needed to know more! See my interview with Goss along with how to sign up for the newsletter below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about why you decided to start a poetry email newsletter?
GOSS: During one of my long drives between Oregon and California this fall, I had an epiphany: besides word-of-mouth, reviews are one of the best ways to spread the word about new books, and poets are always in need of reviews of their books. I used to review books regularly https://ericagoss.com/writing/essays-articles-reviews/, but stopped a few years back due to family and work responsibilities. Now I have time to review books again, and instead of only submitting them to journals and waiting months to see them live, I thought I’d create a vehicle for getting them out faster. With the newsletter, I’m happy to say that I’ll be able to send two reviews a month to my subscribers.
HOPKINSON: You mentioned that you’ll be including full length poetry book reviews. Why do you think reviewing poetry books is important for the literary community?
GOSS: A review, whether good or bad, is the ultimate validation for a writer: someone read your book and took the time to reply in writing. If I can do one thing to help raise poetry’s profile in the world, it’s giving poets, who put so much of themselves into literary art, a thoughtful, respectful response. Assembling a book of poems is no easy job; it takes years of writing the poems and then ordering them into a narrative. Then come untold numbers of rejections, and then the final triumph of getting accepted for publication. A review honors that cycle. It lets the world know that the book has arrived and that people should read it.
HOPKINSON: Do you enjoy writing reviews or is it a difficult process?
GOSS: As a reviewer, I read deeply, with the eye of a treasure-hunter. I look for the gems, those brilliant phrases I can uncover and share with my readers. I wouldn’t review books if I didn’t get excited about the possibilities in poetry, which delight and move me over and over. For me, poetry never gets old. However, sometimes I do experience a block when reviewing a book. I don’t want to repeat phrases I’ve used before or resort to reviewer’s clichés or restate blurbs. Re-reading previous reviews I’ve written sometimes helps unblock me. Sometimes I just need to take a break.
HOPKINSON: How can poets/presses submit a poetry book to you for review?
GOSS: Contact me through my blog: https://ericagoss.com/contact/
HOPKINSON: What other information do you plan to include in the newsletter?
GOSS: Besides reviews, the other sections are:
- THE READING LIFE Short pieces about the joys of reading
- RANDOM POEM FROM THE BOOKSHELF A poem I’ve enjoyed selected from my personal library
- QUOTES A quote or quotes from literature
- WHAT I’M READING Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, travel, biography, humor, cookbooks, etc.
- VIDEO Poetry videos – mine or others
- SUBSCRIBER RECOMMENDATIONS/NEWS Newsletter subscriber contributions – send me your book announcements, publication news, and other news items
HOPKINSON: How can folks sign up to receive the newsletter?