Four hundred words. No bylines. A focus on the text itself. And a staunch no-crony rule. These are the simple concepts that gave rise to SCOUT, hashed out online and then over drinks in the West Village over the course of 2014. Our obstacles were substantial: we had jobs that dominated our days, no starter capital, and nothing with which to reward our writers beyond the promise of free books and the opportunity to write about poetry. But the concept seemed promising. A project based on pure utility: a steady stream of short, smart, well-constructed poetry reviews with the sole goal of understanding (and then describing) books of contemporary poetry on their own terms. By stripping away personal politics, by tamping down voice, by taking away the freedom (or compulsion) to say everything, we hoped to arrive at something different, modest, useful. A guide. A marker. A simple heuristic. A scout.
Kathleen Ossip is the author of The Do-Over; The Cold War, which was one of Publishers Weekly's best books of 2011; The Search Engine, which was selected by Derek Walcott for the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize; and Cinephrastics, a chapbook of movie poems. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Best American Magazine Writing, the Washington Post, Paris Review, Poetry, The Believer, A Public Space, and Poetry Review (London). She teaches at The New School and she has received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Spencer Short is the author of Tremolo, a winner of the 2000 National Poetry Series competition. He is a graduate of The Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Chicago Law School.
If you are interested in reviewing for us, please send us an introduction and two sample reviews at [email protected]