Why I Am Not a Painter — Argos Books

Just this past Monday sprightly local press Argos Books held a release party for the first book in their Little Anthology series. The collection, titled Why I Am Not a Painter, showcases poetry from current students from each of NYC’s seven MFA programs. Okay, this is a little self-indulgent, since two of my poems are featured in the anthology, but I’ve been jonesing to see what else would make it in and so far I’m very, very pleased with the results. A bunch of us New School-ers got in, which I think speaks highly of the program and the group of us as writers, but a more important result of this book is that it helped get folks from the different programs together.

Being involved in poetry (and this may hold for fiction writers, too) in NYC is, at least in my experience, a lot like being a musician. There are so many of us (probably too many) and so many social circles, readings and other events going on that it’s impossible to keep up. People that may be doing similar work or engaging with related practices may never get exposed to one another and that’s a shame. This anthology, at the very least, can be appreciated for trying to alleviate some of those divisions.

Fortunately, the writing is also strong. A decent number of us have been published elsewhere and I think that number will continue to grow. It would be a mistake to think that the poems in WIANaP are lacking because we’re all current students or anything like that. The panel of judges was comprised of a representative from each school and they did not judge their own peers’ work.

At the moment I still haven’t made it through the whole book, but that’s just because a bunch of us continued to “celebrate” post-reading and I was putting the finishing touches on my thesis yesterday. Feels great to be done that and it feels equally great to be a part of this anthology. I hope Emily and her partners at Argos continue this series because it’s a necessary and worthwhile endeavor.

Order a copy or 4 here

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