Poets & Writers magazine is the best source to go to when you need knowledge about the craft/vocation of writing. The editorial staff is to be applauded for consistently providing useful materials in a pleasant to read format, even though one could occasionally quibble with their decisions, or the writers they choose to highlight now and then. At the moment I cannot remember the change in staff that prompted their redesign a year or two ago, but it has lead to many good changes including: color on the covers, photos that bleed off the page, photos cropped in interesting ways, better layout, better typography, increased advertising, and two grades of paper that signify a break in sections. Props to the people that brought about this extraordinary change at Poets & Writers. This magazine has not always looked this good! The Sept/Oct 2000 issue cover blurbs in order are: Poets Protest: The War On Words In Austria Researching Your Novel Writers And The Inner Critic Plus Grants & Awards, Deadlines, Conferences The Resurrection of Frank Lima P&W has consistently good articles, so much so that if you had a mind, you could probably spin other article ideas off of them. First and foremost, P&W has an excellent News and Trends section at the front of the book. Items featured in the most recent issue: Fence Parlays Lit Mag Into Books, E-mail Drive Saves Poetry Northwest, and Stanley Kunitz Accepts Poet Laureate Post. While the magazine is verbally and visually outstanding, sometimes the Editorial Staff at P&W can be faulted, though, for not giving cover blurbs to stories that may have been more deserving. For example, poet Robert Phillips wrote a five-page article with a strong human interest angle about writing at an older age , Aging Well: Why Older Is Better, that did not get a cover blurb, while a longer more-technically-proficient article about publishing in Austria, that had much less human
interest, was deemed to be a better selling point. The question is why? Also, I have noticed they tend to feature only one writers name on the cover of Poets & Writers -- which would seem to me to be an editorial decision that works to the detriment of the magazine. To illustrate, an article by Natalie Goldberg is simply endorsed on the cover as Writers And The Inner Critic, when unquestionably the mere presence of her name would probably sell more copies for the publication. Aside from sometimes misleading or poorly chosen cover blurbs, this is an exemplary magazine as far as magazines on writing go. I rank it right up there with Writer's Digest and the tabloid-size American Poetry Review. Some of the other articles in the magazine are: The Art of Reading Lorrie Moore; Paying Attention: Kids Can Show the Way; and Publicity Primer: The Basics Every Writer Should Know. The Grants & Awards, Conferences & Residencies, Classifieds, and Index of Advertisers are gold mines in and of themselves. Anyone with the interest of becoming a published writer should definitely place these sections of the magazine in their direct aim and not lose focus of their goals. I strongly urge you to subscribe to Poets & Writers, a magazine no developing author should be without. When you find it essential to know everything that is going on in the field of writing, if you cannot afford to subscribe to it, search this magazine out at the newsstand. In closing, if I could only subscribe to one writing magazine, and I had to pick between Poets & Writers or Writer's Digest, ultimately, in the end, I think I would choose this superlative magazine over other magazines of its type. I cannot imagine a writing life without this source of constant information!