Morgan Parker is the author of Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books 2015), selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize, and There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, forthcoming in 2017 from Tin House Books. Winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize and a Cave Canem graduate fellow, Morgan lives with her dog Braeburn in Brooklyn, NY. She works as an Editor for Amazon Publishing’s Day One and Little A, and teaches Creative Writing at Columbia University. She also co-curates the Poets With Attitude (PWA) reading series with Tommy Pico, and with Angel Nafis, she is The Other Black Girl Collective. She is also The Offing‘s Poetry editor.
What doors does The Offing open for you?
I’m incredibly passionate about bringing breathtaking and important poetry to new audiences. In just the short time we’ve been around, The Offing has built an incredible and voracious audience, and it’s seriously my greatest joy to introduce them to our writers, many of whom aren’t well known. The Offing creates real opportunity for writers, and showcasing them and supporting their careers is deeply satisfying. As an editor and an advocate for poets, The Offing gives me purpose.
Is there a piece you’ve worked on or found at The Offing that’s been especially meaningful to you?
I’ll start with the corny answer: every single damned one. There isn’t a single poem in our archive that I’m not beaming with pride to have published. Our “Uprising” issue was one of my favorites to work on — namely because of the sheer number of poets we were able to publish, and the diversity among them. Though each poem was wildly different than the next, they shared an urgency that, full disclosure, brought me to tears. I’ll also add that, while as an editor and a department head I get a little bit type-A about spreadsheets and schedules, it’s incredible to work for an organization that’s willing to drop everything to devote space and resources to what’s culturally necessary. Literature doesn’t exist outside of our society. We can’t turn off the news and go back to publishing inconsequential, traditionally “lovely” work. That’s not what The Offing is about.
What would you like to see us do with the donations we receive during our fundraiser?
We want to pay writers more. We want to pay staff. It is imperative that we do both. The literary world is not only for the privileged. It is not only for the rich. For us to commit to supporting our writers and staff monetarily is for us to take a small step forward in squashing literary elitism and valuing the work of writers of all backgrounds.