Philly Poetry Chapbook Review is a new venture focusing on – you guessed it – reviews of poetry chapbooks – but also quite a bit more. Readers of the site can expect to find short book reviews, long-form single-book reviews, long-form multi-book essays, craft essays on poetry and chapbooks, interview-driven author features, and weekly updates of poetry books.
Publishing six online issues each year, Editor Aiden Hunt prefers to “keep the publication lively and flexible,” so new content is released on a weekly, rolling schedule.
Philly Poetry Chapbook Review, or PCR, is based in the Philadelphia, PA suburbs and has developed a relationship with the Philadelphia poetry community. “We are international in scope, though,” says Hunt. “The name is abbreviated as ‘PCR’ because we hope to expand to other types of chapbooks in the future.”
Hunt started PCR after participating in a massive open online course (MOOC) nicknamed ModPo (Modern and Contemporary American Poetry) provided by the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2023. “I enjoyed studying poetry so much,” Hunt expressed, “that I decided to continue and use my online publishing experience to create something worthwhile.”
Hunt’s education itself has been a worthwhile creation, as he explains, “I’m a disabled, neurodivergent 42-year-old man with little formal education after a GED. I started writing poetry to process outsized emotions at around 10 years old. I left it behind as an adult and spent two decades as a heavy reader and student of literary fiction.
“I’ve been a freelance journalist and editor since 2013 when I started covering medical cannabis policy as an activist. I launched three online publications: an activist blog, a cannabis policy news site, and a cannabis policy and industry news site. After this and writing for magazines and websites, I decided to refocus on my love of literature. In the middle of 2023, after several years of independent study to approximate a higher literary education, I returned to poetry and became addicted.”
While reviews and chapbooks are the main focus of the site, Hunt is open to pitches. “I try to respond to both pitches and unsolicited submissions within 72 hours,” he explains. “All submissions are read by our editor. If it meets our goals, we want to publish it. If it doesn’t, we’ll let you know why. We’re happy to assign books for review and work with writers who show promise to get pieces into shape.”
As the publication is still in its infancy, Hunt has contributed content for the start-up as well as writers C.M. Crockford, Mike Bagwell, and Francesca Leader. PCR is also published under Creative Commons license so that content can be republished for noncommercial uses.
Reflecting on the start-up effort, Hunt comments, “If a literary publication respects and appreciates its contributors, it can succeed no matter how small the budget and staff. Unlike journalistic endeavors, writers often aren’t expecting to live on their writing. Appreciation goes a long way.”
Plans for PCR include building a stable of contributors, pursuing funding through grants and donations/sponsorships, and continuing to grow its readership – which you can help with by stopping by to enjoy the newest updates.