Poetry Midwives Editing and Submission Services
As writers, we know late nights spent poring over lines, struggling toward the a-ha moment when the poem magically comes together. Whether you have a publication list a mile long or notebooks bursting with verses that have never been sent to an editor, we recognize the passion that propels your poetry and are here to boost your poems to the next level. Whether you are preparing your manuscript for publication or dressing up your poems for their debut at open-mic night, let us be your literary midwives and help you deliver your poems beautifully to the world.
It is our absolute pleasure to assist with the birth of strong-bodied poems, to lift more poetic voices and books into life, and to witness other poets thrive.
Free Consultation: Talk to us. Let’s get this party started!
Party Offerings: The cost is typically $50 per hour. A portion of our proceeds supports writers in financial need.*
Happy Hour: We edit 5-10 pages of poetry. The time it takes to edit small batches of poems depends on style, form, complexity of content, and other considerations. We consider and give suggestions for syntax, grammar, line breaks, word choice, tone, voice, and other poetic devices. We do much more than proofread, although we proofread, too! We personalize the process for you based on your free consultation and your needs.
Big Bash: We edit your full-length manuscript and assist with sequencing, syntax, grammar, line breaks, word choice, tone, voice, revision, and more for the best possible incarnation of your book.
We know that submitting work for publication can be daunting, especially considering that there are hundreds of literary journals publishing work, and many now prefer the use of Submittable. We charge $30 per hour for submission services, in addition to the publishers’ small reading fees. We can discuss in our consultation whether you prefer to submit to open reading periods, contests, and so forth, according to your goals and budget. Let us use our years of experience in the publishing world to find your poems or manuscript their best publishing homes.
*If payment is an obstacle for you, please contact us to request our financial support form.
Lake and Sara met in the hills of Chatham as poets in the MFA program. Sara exuded a bright red light that felt like sheets of sunrise lifting. Lake was a bird creature whose eyes darted around the room in a loving, sunflower-yellow light. They found themselves working on professional, creative projects together at every opportunity. When the MFA program director, Sheryl St.Germain, confirmed that they make a great team, they decided they wanted to be partners beyond Chatham. Over the years they’ve brainstormed many business ideas ranging from a poetry café to poetry candles to homemade peanut butter with jars adorned with poems. The idea they held dearest to their hearts was Poetry Midwives Editing and Submission Services. Thank you for being part of our journey!
Sara Ries Dziekonski was named Runner-Up in the Press 53 Poetry Award for her manuscript, Today’s Specials, which is projected to be published in the Fall of 2024 as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection. Sara is a Buffalo native and holds an MFA in poetry from Chatham University. Her first book, Come In, We're Open, which she wrote about growing up in her parents’ diner, won the 2009 Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition. Sara taught composition and literature at Erie Community College before teaching for SENA in Colombia. Her chapbooks include Snow Angels on the Living Room Floor (Finishing Line Press, 2018) and Marrying Maracuyá (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2021), which won the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Competition. Her poems have appeared in U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry,” and in the journals Slipstream, Potomac Review, SWWIM Every Day, 2River View, Connecticut River Review, Lily Poetry Review, Creative Pinellas Arts Coast Journal, and LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, among others. She lives in St Petersburg, FL and works for Keep St. Pete Lit as an editor and creative writing teacher.
Lake Angela (Angelas Parker and Kaiser) is a poet, translator, and choreographer from Lake Erie who develops her work at the confluence of poetry and the complex language of dance movement. She holds a PhD from The University of Texas at Dallas for her intersemiotic translations of German Expressionist poetry into dance and has her MFA in poetry from Chatham University. She is a medieval mystic and nonhuman creature. Her chapbook is Old Magic (! Press), and her full-length books include Organblooms and Words for the Dead (FutureCycle Press). She often collaborates with her spouse, the writer Kevin Richard Kaiser, and with the Austrian poet Georg Amsel. Her current work draws from her experiences of neurodivergence and her work as a dance therapist for psychiatric patients at a rural state hospital. Lake is director of Companyia Lake Angela, poetry editor for Punt Volat, and schizophrenia spectrum advocacy writer for Brainz Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in New York Quarterly, filling Station, Seneca Review, Portland Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Cagibi, Passages North, Poetry Salzburg Review, and The Bitter Oleander, among others.
Fun Facts about Sara:
- Sara enjoys eating the middles of things, particularly the cheese centers of danishes.
- Sara learned the Macaw language when she shared a backyard with a scarlet macaw family in Colombia.
- One of Sara’s pastimes is making beeswax candles clothed in poems.
- The most accurate description of where she comes from is the golden hour.
Fun Facts about Lake:
- Lake once cut her hair to match her dog companion, Ponyboy, who has a natural mohawk.
- You can find glamour shots scattered around her apartment that feature her cat companion Friede’s astonishing whiskers.
- Lake has an affinity for cockroaches and a blue cockroach tattooed to her collarbone.
- The most accurate description of where she comes from is the space between water and sky.
Poetry Midwives did everything from sequencing my book to line break and grammatical editing, formatting, proofreading, and polishing. Sara and Lake were magical to work with because they brought so much life and breath to my manuscript. They are true experts in their field. They were thorough and supportive and relieved the stress that comes with preparing a manuscript for publication. They even sent my manuscript to publishers, and I got a book deal with Finishing Line Press within months! –Elaine Rollwagen Chamberlain, author of Chiapas Diary, Finishing Line Press
Poetry Midwives — aka Sara and Lake — have done a wonderful job taking over the most tedious and nerve-wracking part of writing: submissions. I have been consistently impressed with the diversity of journals in my monthly submissions, and I’ve already received several acceptances (with most of my submissions still under consideration, of course). Sara and Lake’s work is tailored to meet my goals and, best of all, it leaves me with more time for writing. –Elizabeth Sylvia, published in A-Minor Magazine and others.
What I liked most about Sara and Lake, which is what the best part of a writing group offers, is someone who you respect taking the time and care to read your work. But not only that, one wants in an editor someone who is not afraid to tell you what isn't working and why. I did not use all of their suggestions, just like in a writer's group, but I was often surprised by their responses and encouraged to look at the structure of a poem in a new way. In conclusion, I found their editing to be honest, intelligent, and thoughtful. As a writer, you can't really ask for anything more. —Douglas M Smith, author of Social Works and Other Myths, Serendipity Press
Sara and Lake gave me personalized attention and cared about every part of my project. I had a collection of poems, nonfiction stories, and artwork, and they turned it into a beautifully cohesive hybrid manuscript. I really had no idea how to begin to make my work into a book, and they helped make my dream a reality. They even helped me to get many of my pieces published in journals before the collection is published, and I am truly grateful. I never could have done this without them. —Alexandra Geiger Morgan, published in Persimmon Tree and others.