Edi­tor’s Note


Poets and Writers - - Contents -

MOST OF MY WORK ON THE LEAD STORY IN THIS IS­SUE’S spe­cial sec­tion—the heavy lift­ing, one might say—was done while I was re­cu­per­at­ing from back surgery, a min­i­mally in­va­sive pro­ce­dure that none­the­less knocked me off my reg­u­lar sched­ule for a cou­ple of weeks. Much of my cor­re­spon­dence with the twenty prin­ci­pal play­ers in “The Busi­ness of Re­la­tion­ships: How Au­thors, Agents, Ed­i­tors, Book­sellers, and Pub­li­cists Work To­gether to Reach Read­ers” (53) took place while I was out of the of­fice and work­ing from home. The irony was not lost on me that I was build­ing and shaping a fea­ture story meant to high­light the con­nec­tions be­tween a team of pub­lish­ing pro­fes­sion­als that ral­lies be­hind any suc­cess­ful book while sep­a­rated from the team of pub­lish­ing pro­fes­sion­als be­hind this mag­a­zine. Of course I was still in con­tact with the tal­ented group of in­di­vid­u­als listed on the mast­head two pages back, via e-mail, text, and even phone— much the same way an au­thor stays con­nected with an agent, or an agent with an edi­tor, or a pub­lisher with a book­seller— but my rel­a­tive iso­la­tion un­der­scored the im­por­tance of these re­la­tion­ships. As the re­sponses to my ques­tions trick­led in and the crit­i­cal con­nec­tions forged by de­but au­thors Jordy Rosen­berg, Nafissa Thomp­son-Spires, Rachel Z. Arndt, Aja Ga­bel, and Ruth Jof­fre be­gan to ex­pand, I had real-time re­minders of what I was try­ing to il­lus­trate in the piece: “A work of art con­ceived and cre­ated in soli­tude is car­ried forth by a team, pass­ing through many hands be­fore it reaches the mar­ket­place.” Each is­sue of this mag­a­zine works in a sim­i­lar way.

The new­est mem­ber of our team is writer, ed­u­ca­tor, and now con­tribut­ing edi­tor Clint Smith, who you may re­call wrote the cover pro­file of poet Kevin Young for our Novem­ber/De­cem­ber 2017 is­sue. Smith, a poet him­self—the au­thor of Count­ing De­scent, re­leased by Write Bloody Pub­lish­ing in 2016—was the one who sug­gested I in­vite poet and es­say­ist Hanif Ab­dur­raqib to sit down with this is­sue’s cover sub­ject, Ter­rance Hayes. Their con­ver­sa­tion, and the re­sult­ing pro­file, “My Past and Fu­ture As­sas­sin” (30), is a fas­ci­nat­ing look at a bril­liant poet ob­sessed with his project.

Whether you’re ob­sessed with a project of your own, or em­bark­ing on new work this sum­mer, take the time to think about the re­la­tion­ships that have grown as a re­sult of your writ­ing. There’s a spe­cial one I’d like to ac­knowl­edge now: Thank you, dear read­ers.

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