Manuscript Revision Lab 2023

closes July 31, 2023


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“Every good poem begins in language awake to its own connections…."  —Jane Hirschfield

Dear poets,

There can be great pleasure or catharsis in writing, but it is revision that reveals the true essence of a poem, and revision that ultimately carries a writer from a handful of poems to a cohesive manuscript. I'm delighted to invite you to our second annual manuscript revision lab, designed specifically for poets who, like Hirschfield, are ready to parse the connections between their poems and assemble their bones into an agile body. Assembling a successful manuscript can feel like a lonely and daunting process, but our manuscript revision lab provides practical tools, community support, and astute feedback to help you refine your manuscript into a book ready for submission. 

This lab is an entirely online, asynchronous opportunity to have your manuscript draft read and reviewed by professionals at renowned presses. Our editor-partners with backgrounds at Sundress Publications, Milkweed Editions, and Alice James Books have selected and supported manuscripts that have gone on to win national awards and receive critical acclaim. They will apply their expertise—both as poets and experienced editors—to provide developmental feedback that will help you take your manuscript to the next level. A significant portion of the lab fee goes directly to the editors.

I know personally how much love and labor goes into pruning your manuscript and transforming it into a someday-soon book—I spent much of the last few years agonizing over my own manuscript, Theophanies, without the structure of a workshop or critique group. I'm eager to connect writers in the same boat with editors who are ready and available to help, and to share what I've learned on my own journey to publication as well.

I hope you'll join us!

in community,

Sarah Ghazal Ali

our partner editors:

Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies (Saturnalia Books, 2017) and Doppelgangbanger (Haymarket Books, 2021). He was awarded a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and he has also received fellowships from Cave Canem and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, his poems have appeared in POETRY, The Nation, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, Granta, and elsewhere. He serves as a poetry editor at The Rumpus and on the editorial board at Alice James Books.

Tennison S. Black is the author of Survival Strategies which was a winning selection of the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming September 2023 from UGA Press. They are the Managing Editor at Sundress Publications as well as Best of the Net. They received their MFA from Arizona State University and currently reside in Washington State.

Broc Rossell is Editor-at-Large at Milkweed Editions, where he previously was Managing Editor, and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the small press, The Elephants. A former professor of creative writing and lecturer of art history, he is also the author of Alameda (selva oscura, 2021) and Festival (Cleveland State University, 2015), and co-editor of Poetics and Praxis ‘After’ Objectivism (University of Iowa Press, 2018).

participants receive:

  • a 2-4 page editorial letter from an editor with specific suggestions and developmental edits, as well as targeted line edits within the manuscript itself;
  • 30-40 pages of self-guided supplementary materials including craft essays, revision tools, and personal editorial insights from the Palette editor in chief;
  • free submission in a forthcoming Palette Poetry contest;
  • personalized suggestions for presses and publishing houses that may be a good fit for your manuscript;
  • and optional Palette-organized critique partners/critique groups based on where you are in the manuscript process, vision/goals, thematic concerns, etcetera….

All writers will receive feedback no later than October 31. Early submissions may yield earlier feedback.

submission guidelines:

  • please submit a complete draft (between 40-60 pages) of your poetry manuscript (to give us a sense of what you're working on).
  • please submit a cover letter to give us a sense of you as a writer, your manuscript, and your goals for it. 
  • all styles of poetry are welcome—we only ask that you have a manuscript ready for review, no matter how rough or polished it may be!
  • All submissions require a participation fee of $697.
  • 1 scholarship will be reserved for a BIPOC poet with financial need.


How much interaction will I have with the editors?

  • Each participant will be assigned one editor who receives their manuscript. For accessibility and ease, we've designed this program to be completely asynchronous and digital—you will submit your manuscript, and an editor will read it, write their feedback, and send it back. After that, any continued conversation is at the editor's personal discretion.

How much interaction will I have with the other participants?

  • Entirely up to you! The lab is designed to work for all kinds of writers, whether you are seeking community support or prefer to work more independently and asynchronously. After receiving your resources, you'll be asked if you'd like to join a critique group or find a critique partner to work through the resources together. The Palette team will help facilitate the groups or pairings according to level of experience, goals/vision, and other factors, and then it'll be up to the participants to figure out a working schedule and style that makes sense to the group. We want to help foster community long after the lab itself has ended!

Will this help me publish my book?

  • We certainly hope so, though the goal is to give you the tools you need to take your manuscript and your revision practice overall to the next level.

Will I have to use Zoom or talk to anyone on the phone?

  • Nope! This will be handled entirely through Submittable. We will send you your packet of lab material soon after the lab closes (early August). The timing of the feedback depends on the editor's availability, but it should take at most 8-12 weeks for you to receive your feedback.

Can I purchase a spot for a friend?

  • Yes, please feel more than welcome. Just clarify your intent in your cover letter and put us in contact with that poet.