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Gifts for the Poet in Your Life

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So you’re thinking about gifting this season, but you’ve got a problem—there’s someone in your life who is a reader, a writer, but more than that: a poet. Which always seems just a little bit stranger and more niche than other writers. And it isn’t so easy to walk into a bookstore and pick up a book of poetry, oftentimes. So what do you get the poet in your life?

Don’t worry, friend. I got you.

best-american-poetry-2018-dana-gioiaA Poetry Anthology

Instead of buying a single-authored book of poetry, try an anthology—this way, your dear poet will get the chance to indulge in many different writers’ work and perhaps even find something new that they love. Typically, anthologies are centered around a particular topic, which will make it easier to find something your poet might love. Some great ones that were published this year include:

The Best American Poetry 2018, edited by Dana Gioia. Features poems by Frank Bidart, Kaveh Akbar, Terrance Hayes, Donika Kelly, Sharon Olds, Tracy K. Smith, and more.

Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, edited by Christopher Soto. Features poems by Natalie Diaz, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Erika L. Sánchez, Jericho Brown, Tommy Pico, Chen Chen, and more.

The BreakBeat Poets vol 2: Black Girl Magic, edited by Mahogany L. BrowneIdrissa Simmonds, and Jamila Woods. Features poems by Elizabeth Acevedo, Ariana Brown, Safia Elhillo, Eve L. Ewing, Nabila Lovelace, Aja Monet, Angel Nafis, Noname, Morgan Parker and more.

New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich. Features poems by Trevino L. Brings Plenty, Laura Da’, Natalie Diaz, LeAnne Howe, Layli Long Soldier, Tommy Pico, and more.

a public space literary magazine poetrySubscription to a Literary Magazine

For many, poetry careers start with literary magazines. Many actively seek to publish emerging poets and celebrate new voices. But more importantly, they provide an opportunity for writers to see the current literary landscape—as the sort of front line of contemporary writing, lit mags are the places to notice trends, new forms, and what editors are currently seeking. Plus, it’s smart to read what your contemporaries are doing and pick up inspiration from them. You can find a lot of literary magazine subscriptions for under $30, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving!

Some places to start include: Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Black Warrior Review, A Public Space, AGNI, Gulf Coast

Submission Fee Coverage

For those of you who may not know, getting poetry published often comes with the nasty side-effect of having to pay submission fees. While there’s some debate about this, submission fees remain a reality, and go towards administrative and publishing costs for the journal or magazine. While they typically are around $3 (or $25 for contests), this can add up very quickly and can hinder poets from achieving their career dreams.

If there’s a poet you love and want to care for this season, gifting the coverage of some submission fees can make a big difference, and can allow a writer to go after their publishing dreams without having to worry.


Noise-Canceling Headphones

Writing is hard, and writing for work is often a different experience from what we imagine it might be. The world is filled with distractions that can deter us from the work we sat down to do, and it can be really hard to turn that off and turn brains on. The gift of good pair of noise cancelling headphones allows a writer to concentrate on their work and turn out beautiful poems without getting pulled off track every time their phone buzzes.

Page Anchor

Reading is the most important part of writing, and a Page Anchor is such a needed addition to your reading habit. This beautiful accessory works as a bookmark as well as a paperweight—by settling right in the center of your pages, it holds your book open for easy reading. It’s great for those of us who read frequently (and if you’re me, get paper cuts a lot as a result) or also if you like to take notes in the margins. Page Anchors make a beautiful stocking stuffer and a keepsake your writer will treasure.

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