straw hat.jpg


I am Now the Poetry Editor at Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, & Translation - February 27, 2013


A little less than a year ago, Virginia Ramos invited me to edit the new poetry for Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, & TranslationMantis–named after Louis Zukofsky’s sestina “Mantis”–appears annually with the support of Stanford University’s Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and has been doing for over a decade.

Our eleventh issue is available now, in time for the AWP conference in Boston, and I invite you to stop by their table, order an issue via Mantis’s website, or by contacting me directly:

As a preview, here’s my introduction to the new poetry appearing in Mantis 11, followed by our new submission guidelines for issue 12:

Mantis 11New POEMS:

The poetry selection for Mantis 11 aims to flex some new aesthetic muscles.  While our commitment to long (and often experimental) sequences remains—our robust Mantis forelegs—we’re stretching out our antennae too.  Kristin Abraham, for instance, fuels her short tales of a western “hero” with combustible anaphora.  Eleanor Goodman considers—in quieter, almost plaintive couplets—her privilege, even as she “winch[es] out nickels wedged // between bricks in Harvard Square” (“Ancestry”).  Abraham resides in Wyoming, home of the cowboy poem.  Goodman hails from Boston, birthplace of confessionalism.  Though regionally influenced, both poets find themselves, by poem’s end, in hell.

Such are the happy coincidences—and expansive, generic possibilities—I hope you’ll find in Mantis 11.  We have a short, epistolary poem addressed to one’s sneakers (Sean Hill’s “Postcard to the Bottom of My Shoes”) and arch lyrics that pun with fissured words.  Listen as Ben Doller  (ne Doyle) asks us to “Live    together / In perfect ha / rm money side / by side on my / laptop” (“Irony&Archery”).  Maggie Glover’s early morning love elegy (“Poem of the Night Shift”) begs the question: is this an alba if my beloved never went to bed?  John W. Evansteaches us how to lie.

Meanwhile, those interested in the poetic sequence can still turn to G.C. Waldrep’s “discrete series,” Megin Jimenez’s playful take on Tarot cards, or a selection from Megan Levad’s You Are Where You Live.  Levad builds each of her poems from one of the Nielsen Company’s consumer categories, leaving us a string of voices—both orchestrated and overheard.  Her sequence crosses Spoon River Anthology with an avant-garde erasure, and flexes—like all the poems here collected—a multi-muscular strength.


Mantis Submission Guidelines for ISSUE 12:

Mantis is interested in the best new poetry—across a range of aesthetics, subject matters, and locales—that is currently being written.  We value evocative imagery, syntactical play, a well-tuned ear, and an engagement with a poem’s shape or form. We embrace the unique, the startling, and the well-crafted, however it’s achieved.

With this in mind, please send us 5 to 7 pages of your finest poetry.  This may include a short sequence or an excerpt from a longer poem.  If we’re keen on a longer piece, we’ll query you to send more.

You can expect to hear from us within three months.  Simultaneous submissions are welcomed, though we expect that you’ll note this in your cover letter, and notify us if you contract your work elsewhere.  Send all poems to:

Derek Mong