“Read extensively, but write the poems only you could write. Talk with other writers, even if they’re dead. Know your purpose and hold it close. Think of the obvious, then think of something better. Make friends with metaphor. Take your poem to a metaphor’s house and stay. Follow when the metaphor goes out; see what it does and what it becomes. Teach your reader new words, or try what unexpected things old words might do. Shave away unnecessary words, the ones that slow the lines that ought to move and make the poem stumble. Listen. Add, alter, excise—always listen.”
-Libby Maxey, Senior Editor and Poetry Editor at Literary Mama
Libby Maxey has been a member of the Literary Mama staff since 2012. She lives in rural Massachusetts with her husband and two rapidly maturing sons. With her academic career as a medievalist having died a stunningly swift death by childbirth, she now administers the Department of Classics at Amherst College, writes poetry, reads when able, and sings as much Handel as possible. Her work has appeared in The Mom Egg Review, Emrys, The Maynard, Mezzo Cammin and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Kairos (2019), won the Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices contest.