Daniel Lawless, Professor of English at St. Petersburg College, recently spoke at The American University of Paris on the subject of founding and editing an online/print journal.
Lawless is the creator and editor of Plume: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry. Now in its third year, Plume has garnered nation and international praise for its elegant design and roster of contributors, the latter including a veritable Who’s Who of modern poets, from Rae Armantrout to Rachel Zucker – which is to say, Pulitzer, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle, Forward, Booker, Lannan, and Ruth Lilly Prize/Award winners – and former and current Poets Laureate of the U.S. and the U.K.
Plume presents 12 poems online together with a longer Featured Selection each month, as well as cover art from the likes of Mark Strand and Laurie Simmons. Its annual print anthology comprises new work from a wide range of poets and has been adopted as a text in creative writing and MFA programs in a number of major U.S. universities.
Also while in Paris, Lawless participated in a reading organized by professor and poet Jeffrey Greene of The American University of Paris entitled An Evening Celebrating The Plume Anthology of Poetry, with Daniel Lawless (Editor), Marilyn Hacker, Claire Malroux, Emmanuel Moses, and Molly Lou Freeman.
Perhaps these names are unfamiliar to you? They are, in fact, luminaries of the contemporary poetry world. For example, Hacker is simply the most renowned translator of Francophone poetry working today. And Claire Malroux: all but beatified in France and the U.S. The same could be said of the much celebrated, multi-lingual Moses, and Freeman. The readings were bi-lingual, with Marilyn Hacker reading the work of each poet in English (to accommodate, in her words, some audience members’ “imperfect” French) or in some cases German or Italian, before the poets read from their originals. Mr. Lawless read from his own work.
In all, it was a fine excursion for all concerned. With its connection to Plume, and Lawless’s advocacy and promotion at such events (Plume readings have been held across the U.S. as well, in Chicago, Seattle, New York City, New Orleans and Cambridge), St. Petersburg College is well on its way to becoming a center of excellence in contemporary poetry, known for its writing program and its forward-thinking commitment to the advancement and publication of the best work by the best poets available today.
Don’t forget: the SPC/Plume Poetry Series continues with its third annual event at the Palladium in March 2015, with Richard Blanco, whom you might remember from his electrifying reading at a President Obama’s second inauguration. Blanco, as Billy Collins and Tess Gallagher/Larry Matsuda did before him, also will read and hold student Q&A sessions March 23-24 at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs and Clearwater campuses.