Appropriately named given their location in Central Kentucky – “horse country” – Yearling also fits because it is (still) new and is published annually by Workhorse. What name could be more appropriate for this print poetry journal now joining the herd?
While Yearling may be new, the publications’ masthead come with a great deal of experience. “We are educators, writers, performers, enthusiasts for language, and the voice of every single person.”
Manny Grimaldi (he/him), Managing Editor, began as a regional actor in Shakespeare, with a degree in Dramatic Arts and Anthropology from Centre College. He is cunning with the spoken and written word and has published single pieces of poetry in Club Plum Literary Magazine, Kentucky State Poetry Society’s Pegasus Fall 2022, and the Lexington Poetry Month anthologies for 2020 and 2021.
Christopher McCurry (he/him), Editor, co-founded Workhorse in 2015, a publishing company and community for working writers. He believes “everyone should write poems and that
everyone can.” He is graduate of the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College and a high school English teacher. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and featured on NPR’s On Point as a Best Book of 2016 for his chapbook of marriage sonnets, Nearly Perfect Photograph.
Meredith Dill (she/her) is an English teacher at Lafayette High School and believes that all students have a story to share with the world.
When asked, “Why start a literary magazine?” Grimaldi did not hesitate to respond: “For the same reason one climbs a mountain. Because it is there! In my view, the mission of Yearling is to draw voices to create a new community with every volume. To renew Workhorse. To sing together over sizzling campfire bacon, if you want to get iconic about it!”
For writers looking to submit works, the process involves the editors completing a “first read” of an author’s submission, or their group of submissions. Grimaldi explains, “We determine what goes forward to print and what will be ‘returned’ with feedback. We only publish one poem per poet, so imagine the instance of multiple submissions: if something spoke to us with a strong voice, if something made us forget we were reading a poem, that would be celebrated, and the remainder would receive the detailed feedback regarding strengths and areas of improvement. Anything from the narrative to the musical to lineation. Response time is prompt. No longer than two weeks at best, depending on the queue.” Grimaldi writes all the feedback and says he believes in making a thoughtful response.
Though, at the same time, Grimaldi shares that this feedback writing can present a challenge. “It hurts to take someone’s baby apart. Sometimes the areas of improvement outweigh the strengths. Sometimes the entire poem I look at would belong nestled in a collection, with context, not our journal.” Other hurdles seem more small details that add up, “Typesetting, proofing, and proofing the work – being absolutely certain the author’s intent is represented….. this is laborious.” But can be offset by the rewards: “Reading those pieces that I instantly know have a voice, are singing clearly, are supported by authenticity, in a word are beautiful. That is the greatest joy – that I get to do this work. I’m very grateful to help.”
For readers getting a hold of the publication, they can expect a breadth of experience from contributors like Linda Bryant Davis, Gaby Bedetti, Stephen Jackson, Holly Spinelli, Tabitha Dial, Kevin Nance, Mike Wilson, Adrian Odessa Federspiel, A. Mills, Dennis J. Preston, Tom C. Hunley, Holly James, Roberta Schultz, Austen Reilley, Linda Freudenberger, William Brymer, Kathleen Gregg, Ginna Wilkerson, J.L. Taylor, Amy Le Ann Richardson, Allison Thorpe, Marta Dorton, Katherine M. Paisley, and Katerina Stoykova.
“I have seen pure southern sass,” Grimaldi says of the works, “hymn-like ecstasy, melancholy on walkabout, a meditation on the Eastern Kentucky floods, grief found in between the bedsheets, and an exquisite prose poem about how a body actually feels, what it thinks, what it wants.”
Going forward, Yearling editors have three volumes planned then will make an assessment about what same, new, or next direction to take. The publication has no themes or contests, “Just two things I expect,” says Grimaldi: “Send me your best, finished work. And send me something that makes me forget myself.”
Writers: Challenge accepted? Welcome Yearling with your submissions!