Five editors have generously agreed to help me with the Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge, by providing, for a modest donation of $20, critiques of poetry. Matt Larrimore, founder and editor of Four Ties Lit Review, answers a few questions for us.
Which three words best describe your favorite poetry?
insightful, unpretentious, craftsmanship
Would you mind sharing a bit about your background?
I’ve been in love with poetry since I encountered Rudyard Kipling’s If as a 10 year old. I’ve been spell bound by Robert Frost, Anne Sexton, Sharon Olds, and yes Billy Collins. I’ve studied poetry in earnest for the last nine years, earning a BA in English (Northern Colorado), a MA in Creative Writing (Poetry, Northern Arizona), and a MFA (Poetry, Old Dominion) So, I suppose I’m influenced by academic writing though I try my best to resist it. I’ve worked on 8 annual collegiate journals as well at the last five issues of Four Ties Lit Review, which I founded in 2012.
What sets apart the poems you accept from those you turn down?
Good poems are very clear, the reader has no doubt what the poem is saying, and then they say something interesting. If those two attributes can be combined with a poem that is well executed technically, you really have a good chance of getting published or at the least getting some quality feedback.
If you were a poetic form, which would you be?
Theoretically, I’d like to be Sonnet but in reality I’m more of Sestina that ignores the rules in the third and fifth stanza in order to make a point that might already be obvious.
Do you pay much attention to cover letters? What do you like/dislike about them?Honestly, No. Though I do use them as material if I enter into a conversation with the author (poets are authors) like earnest feedback or a personalized acceptance / rejection. We ask for a bio which serves a similar purpose and occasionally helps us to contextualize a piece, though if we have to do that it’s already unlikely we’ll publish the piece.
List three favorite poets, an admirable animal, and your go-to beverage.
How about 3 you might have to look up? Fred Dings, Gary Short, Pamela Uschuk
The industrious Beaver – but I love how wolves improved the ecology of Yellowstone.
Summer / Spring – Ice coffee Fall / Winter – Mocha
Matthew Larrimore was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent six years in the west, Earning a BA at Northern Colorado then a MA in English, Creative Writing emphasis, in 2012 from Northern Arizona. After teaching for a year he relocated to Virginia to earn his MFA in Poetry from Old Dominion University. He’s an annual journal veteran, and founded Four Ties Lit Review in 2012. He teaches composition and literature as an Adjunct Professor at ODU. His own work has appeared in The Princess Anne Independent, The Noise, Poetry Pacific, and Aproposthearts.
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