Testimonials

“This may sound like hyperbole, but it is not: Maggie Smith is the best editor who has ever worked on one of my manuscripts. She understood exactly what I was trying to accomplish in my project and she knew—it seemed instinctively—how to sharpen and rearrange my poems so that they could achieve their best purpose. Her line edits were extraordinary: she knew exactly where my language became strained from excessiveness, and she knew how to trim the poems back so that they could ‘breathe’ more. Her reordering of the poems gave the manuscript much better flow. I imagine that without Maggie’s help, I’d still be struggling with this manuscript now, not knowing quite what to do. I trust her good guidance, her keen ear and eye. And it meant a lot to me that in her comments, she was always gentle, even when offering criticism. I cannot praise Maggie Smith enough!”  UPDATE: This manuscript, The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter, won the 2018 Colorado Prize for Poetry, selected by John Yau, and is forthcoming in November 2018 from The Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University.       —Gillian Cummings

“I was at a crossroads with my manuscript, having sent it out for two years under various versions, and was trying to figure out if the version I just completed was “the one.” I discovered that Maggie Smith offered editorial services and immediately knew I wanted to work with her. Maggie was always in touch and thoroughly communicative about her editorial process. During our time together, I found out that my chapbook was a finalist for an award, and Maggie contacted me immediately to follow-up about whether there was any crossover between my chapbook and the full-length manuscript. That’s how caring she is: She checks in and is aware of the potential of your work. When I got my manuscript back, Maggie’s notes and insight led to the version of the manuscript I always dreamed of in my head but didn’t even realize was possible until she organized it. I sent that version out, and it won a manuscript contest within 8 months of our time together. I’ve told everyone I’ve crossed paths with how instrumental working with Maggie has been–she truly knows how to make your work sing its brightest song.”  This manuscript, Ceremonial, won the Orison Poetry Prize, selected by Carl Phillips, and is now available from Orison Books.   —Carly Joy Miller

“Maggie Smith’s discernment is razor-sharp, her acumen and poetic craft are at the very highest levels, and her ability to both listen deeply and help the poet shape poems of uncommon force and dignity are a gift to the art form. If you want your poems and your collection to be more fully realized, fiercely written, and lasting, Maggie is the editor for you. With my poems she was both challenging and kind. Working with her was a godsend.”  —Shann Ray

“Maggie Smith is a brilliant and generous editor, and I am so lucky to have worked with her on my manuscript Boom Box. Maggie clearly saw what I was hoping to accomplish (even though I wasn’t entirely sure myself) and helped me find an arrangement that pushed the collection toward its potential. She helped me excise the weak spots—sometimes by suggesting I remove entire poems that weren’t right for the book, sometimes by offering keen-eyed line edits to sharpen particular pieces—and highlight the manuscript’s themes and stronger moments. 15/10 and would totally ask her to work on my next manuscript. (In fact, I already have.)” This manuscript, Boom Box, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2019.  —Amorak Huey  

“Maggie is such an incredible editor; she really brought out the best in my writing project. She provided timely edits on individual pieces and helped me focus the manuscript into a working order that I’d been unable to see. Maggie is kind, professional, and effective—my chapbook was selected for publication only a few months after working with her!” This manuscript, On Not Screaming, is now available from Horse Less Press.   —Eloisa Amezcua

“There’s one writer who’s been my collaborator on poetry reviews and reader of my work for years, and he knows my work better than anyone else. After I sent him my first chapbook, which Maggie Smith had helped me to order and edit, his reaction was this: ‘My initial thoughts when reading your chapbook is like only knowing Raphael’s sketchbooks and then seeing the School of Athens on the wall of the Vatican.’ I am going to take that as high praise. I had never worked with someone to help me edit and order my work, and to be honest, I thought that might be ‘cheating.’ But Maggie is as insightful as she is respectful; she saw patterns in the work that I had nearly seen—what was under my skin, too close to the bone, on the tip of my tongue—she found it. She midwifed my voice into the world.”     —Donna Spruijt-Metz

“I contacted Maggie at a point when I needed some clarity on a manuscript I was putting together, but ended up receiving more: insight that applied to my work in general. Maggie’s efforts helped me identify both problems and solutions, and also helped me see greater potential in the poems as a unified whole. She was honest, kind, and edited with precise yet artful economy. What poet doesn’t need a boost in confidence once in a while? Working with Maggie gave me that. I would hire her again without hesitation.”   Cameron Alexander Lawrence

“When I was younger, I never enjoyed the workshopping process, and as I’ve gotten older the circle of those I trust to edit my poetry has shrunk to almost zero. However, I sent Maggie Smith a manuscript of my poems that was so close to me I was having trouble producing a final draft. Maggie was warm yet surgical in her selection and editing of that book. She took what was a selected works collection, a best of ten years of work, and gave it a strength and a shape I never could have. She took a book I was already proud of, and she made it something undeniably better.”
Darren C. Demaree

“This year, I sent a collection of poems to Maggie Smith for editing. She soon returned them to me reconfigured in ways that carefully sculpted out excess and powerfully revealed the bones. Her reading of the poems was meticulous and sensitive. The subtle changes brought out nuances and complexities that enriched them. Maggie invited me to send questions about her suggested edits, and her responses were clear and specific; they gave me many ideas to ponder and apply to other poems as well. These exchanges with Maggie were a tutorial for me in thinking more carefully about how a poem’s organization on the page—stanzas, line breaks, enjambments—can layer and even complicate meaning as well as allow the language to emerge more boldly as a thing for itself. I also learned that in addition to being such an accomplished poet, Maggie is an amazing editor, teacher, and coach. My experience working with her was rich and affirming, invigorating and provocative, in the best way.”
—Julie Roemer

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