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From the first line

Client 1
Client 7


From our first conversations to the initial sketches and all the way to the final poetry book in full, working with you is an honor. I look at the form of each poem independently with stanzas, and line breaks. We explore concrete shapes, white space, rhythm, end-line word choice, titles, and so on. Then I look at the poems in groups or units and the narrative art or collection as a whole.


Each poem has it's own voice that could be the author in any point of time or place, real or imagined.  That voice must be clear and tell the reader who they are. Poets sometimes write with each poem as a guessing game of charades. This is okay as long as the reader is the winner. My job as your editor is to help you clarify where mystery can be a good element, but to make sure you don't leave your readers in the dark. Voice involves metaphors and similes and thematic and lyrical word choice. Voice is built with energizing verbs. Sometimes even through the punctuation chosen for each poem. Most important is the point of view, the pronouns and characters. Poetry should provide imagery and energy through the voice. 

Client 8


The last thing I look for in poetry is scale or scope. Does the poem open up, the reader's awareness, imagination, or compassion? Does the poem use poetic tools to leave the world of prose behind; to do more with less? This is where not only magical realism might enter in, fantasy, and wordplay, but also alliteration, homonyms, texture, assonance, personification, association, allusion, hyperbole, or repetition. Is the poem, a poem? As an artist, I can also discuss with your the art or photographs you'd like to include. Most important for printed books, is the poetry framed in such a way as to reach out to your readers with information about the author and future projects, or themes behind the work. This happens in sections of the book we call backmatter and might include the biography, a letter from the author, or other special features. 

As a poetry editor, my job is to find the heart of your poetry collection: the arc,  the themes, and the order. I  look at each poem individually, and as a group.

I tend to look for the central poem that shows the heart of your book, the knock-at-the-door-poem that shows what your book is about, or your promise to the readers. My notes help identify the scope, and the emotional ebb and flow centered around your readers' experience. 


As your editor, I help you create a single collection of poetry for your audience with one author. That is different from publishing a single poem. It's more like a portrait or a collection of them. Artists talk about drawing a sketch versus rendering photographic details-- poetry has that too!

Every poem has its own voice, form, texture, emotion, and rhythm. It's the editor's job to draw that out and help the poet truly highlight the experience of speakers' voice in each poem as a collection. To me, a poetry book is a great way to tell your story or share what's important to you.  People say a picture is worth 1000 words but I say a poem is worth 100 pictures. People say that a windmill will provide enough energy to light so many homes. I say poetry has enough energy to light a1000 homes. It's a catalyst for understanding, building bridges, and inspiring creativity in the life of both writer and reader. Let's make more. 


An editor's job is to help you define your goals. Some of my students and private clients have been very ambitious about poetry “careers,” while others have simply wanted to capture their life experiences in language for their friends and family. It’s my goal as a mentor to help you find the path that's right for you.

How to get started?

Find out more about hiring me as your developmental poetry editor for a  single poem, a chapbook (10 to 20 poems), or a full collection (40 to 50 poems). 


How to get started. I'm happy to edit a sample poem so you get a sense of my editing style. 

Fill out the form below and tell me about yourself. What are some of your goals? Your poetry editing experience will involve one introductory consultation by phone or online zoom meeting, your poem(s) returned with an editorial letter, your edited manuscript with editorial notes, an editorial meeting by phone or online, and a final session if needed. Whether you are a beginner or have written poetry for decades, I'll provide experienced editorial guidance to help provide the best reader experience as well as help you meet your goals for your work. Starting at $150. If you'd like help laying out or publishing your work, please ask for a bid. I work with Flying Ketchup Press's hybrid press for poetry publishing called Salt & Pepper Press. 

Writing by the Water
Poetry Inquiry

Thanks for submitting!


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"Thank you so much for your kind words and your vote of confidence in my work." T.A.

"Thank you, Polly! Wow! ...everything creative and the ability to help artist grow. You certainly did a great job getting things together" O.G.

"Thank you for taking the time to look at it. I appreciate the feedback, it's always constructive to hear how a piece reads to another eye." 

Austin G.

"I used to read other authors’ works,/ Now my work can be read by other authors

 Because your belief in me proved more than tangible." T.L.