C.L. O'Dell on The Paris-American

Tell me about the creation of The Paris-American. When and how and why was it conceived?

The Paris-American
began in June, 2012. The name came partly from my, at the time, interest in French poetry and poets like Paul Eluard and Yves Bonnefoy, and painters like Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec. Historically, Paris has been the epicenter for art, until recently, so I decided to name the magazine after an "artistic" American, eventually coming up with The Paris-American.

The idea to create an e-zine/reading series developed parallel with my realization of how truly difficult it was to arrive, as a poet, into the modern day poetry scene. There are so many poets, especially young, gifted artists, who are unable or struggling to display their art on a deserved and widely-recognized platform. I wanted to build a magazine for strictly poetry, and nothing else, to showcase this talented generation of poets.

What makes The Paris-American different from other places to encounter poetry on the internet?

Poetry on TPA is easily accessible, and free to the public. The site is easy to navigate, and more importantly, we only publish poetry, so poetry is all you will find, in terms of creative writing, inside the magazine. In addition to new poetry, and the poetry archive, TPA offers a unique, annual reading series contest called The Paris-American Prize. This prize is different than most because it gives emerging (even established) writers the opportunity to read with a heavyweight poet, or "celebrity" poet as I have called them during the readings. Not only does the winner(s) read with a distinguished poet, but also with a guest reader who is typically an up-and-coming prize-winning poet.

What is something that you have recently published that really excited you, and why?

I am always excited to discover unpublished poets, but in the past year I had the privilege to publish a poem by Natalie Diaz, called "The Cure for Melancholy is to Take the Horn." Natalie is a wizard with words, and always seems to, even during the most heartbreaking moments of her art, add a precise amount of magic and wonder. If you are not familiar with Natalie's work, please start here.

What should someone submitting work to The Paris-American know about the site?

If you write poetry and feel ready to share your art with the world, please submit to TPA. Every submission is read carefully and is considered for publication on the site.

What other literary sites, journals, or broadcasts, online or print, are your go-to? 

Recently, being so busy, I've been relying heavily on poetry that is forced into my lap, like Poem-a-day from Poets.org, and poetry from PEN Poetry Series, sent directly to my inbox, and of course the usual reads of Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, New England Review, etc. For online journals, I often go to places like Blackbird and Guernica, where the poetry is consistently powerful.




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