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Deadline: Friday, May 12th

Congratulations to our featured client Paul Watsky! After impressing our Review Board in 2007 with his poetry, Paul Watsky proceeded to garner over 20 acceptances, including more than a few top-tier credits. His dark humor and blunt honesty enrich his poems, which are written on a variety of topics ranging from death to YouTube videos. Paul possesses not only a great ear for poetry but a great eye; the focused pace of his words is magnified by fascinating line breaks and enjambment. Watch his short video.

In Paul Watsky’s Own Words

At the time I learned of Writer’s Relief, I had for the prior two years been at an impasse over submitting my poetry to journals. I first had used a couple of catalogues like Poet’s Market and targeted places that wouldn’t take simultaneous submissions. After that yielded poor results, I began sending out what I considered mass mailings to receptive outlets, which meant maybe five copies of a single packet a couple of times a year—again with little to show from typical turnarounds of between two and ten months. I had the sense it would take many decades, time I didn’t have, for me to accumulate a handful of credits.

Over the past several years, since I signed up with WR, the numbers game has changed dramatically for the better: Around 175 packets of poems sent annually to print and online journals, many of which I never would have located by myself, and a monthly acceptance average over the past two years of just under one poem (which includes several journals that took more than a single piece, and some submissions via other channels), a frequency that gives me a sense of momentum both in terms of brute numbers and the rising quality of publications taking my work.

The process has been both educational—giving me a more realistic sense of how publishing operates—and motivating: I have to keep producing poems in order to meet my submissions quota.
Louis Simpson coined the term Po-Biz for this kind of essential activity, and Writer’s Relief has enabled me, against my initial instincts, to behave in a productively businesslike manner.

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About Paul Watsky

I attended New York University as an undergraduate, where I won the school-wide literary prize for a group of sonnets, did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and the State University of New York, Buffalo, then taught as an assistant professor in the English department at San Francisco State University, specializing in modern poetry. Subsequently, I earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and now make my living as a Jungian analyst.

My work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asheville Poetry Review, Alabama Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fugue, Interim, Permafrost, The Pinch, The Puritan, Natural Bridge, Many Mountains Moving, Smartish Pace, and others. I have authored two chapbooks issued by tel-let, More Questions Than Answers (2001) and Sea Side (2003). In 2006 I cotranslated Santoka (Tokyo, PIE Books) in collaboration with Emiko Miyashita. In 2010 my debut full-length poetry collection, Telling The Difference, was released by Fisher King Press, and a collection of my baseball poetry entitled Extra Innings was published by Interpoezia. Book critic Dwight Garner referred to my poem “Cumbersome” as “terrific” in his New York Times Arts Beat blog.

Learn more about Paul Watsky by visiting his website,!

1 Comment

  1. Marilyn Ringer

    I’m so excited to see Paul here at Writers Relief. I had the great pleasure of meeting him at the Squaw Valley Writer’s Conference several years ago, and I’m looking forward to reading more of his wonderful poems!
    Congratulations Paul!


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