Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Talking With: St. Louis Poetry Anthology Editor Matt Freeman

Mark your calendars: Friday, July 16 at 7 p.m. is the launch party for Floodstage: An Anthology of St. Louis Poets (Walrus Publishing, $18), at Left Bank Books downtown, 321 North 10th Street, St. Louis. Editor and well-known full-time poet Matt Freeman talks about assembling this landmark anthology of 55 area poets -- it took two and a half years:

Who came up with the idea of this anthology, and how did you become its editor?
Even before I knew very many St. Louis poets, I thought an anthology might be a really neat thing to do for the city. I was lucky to meet Lisa Miller at a friend's workshop, and she mentioned she had just started a new publishing house. I pitched her the idea and we were underway.

What was the best moment while you put this anthology together?
Trite though it is, my best moment during this project came only recently when Lisa emailed me the cover of the book. I had a strange sensation of pride. And I'm still astonished that it came together.

What was the toughest thing about this project?
The toughest thing has been that since completing the editing, I've met so many wonderful poets who really should've been included. I'm sorry for that.

What were the criteria for the poets you included?
I decided to select the group of poets from all the acquaintances I've made hitting the scene pretty hard for a couple of years. The criteria only came into play as I selected the poems for inclusion, and got to come forth with my own voice. I am sorry that a few poets out there seemed to resist sending me some poems!

Why should people buy this anthology?
Anyone interested in St. Louis culture and anyone who has a lot of pride in our city ought to consider buying the book. Maybe parents of budding poets; maybe the poets for whom this is their first publication ought to tell friends about it, maybe social workers; maybe avant-garde painters too.

Anything else you want to add?

I've just had a good time here in St Louis. I'm glad for all my brilliant friends. I've been delivered and surprised in a variety of fashions.

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