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Steve Castro on Public Pool

Tell me about the creation of Public Pool. When and how and why was it conceived?

Public Pool was launched the week of AWP Los Angeles last year in April by DonCarlos Price and John Ebersole. It was started to bring all types of poets together in one place, including spoken word artists and even rappers. We wanted a place where all poets could promote their work and themselves, that is, a community for poets.

In early July, 2016, DonCarlos asked me if I wanted to replace John Ebersole as co-editor, and I said yes. As of 2017, Public Pool is co-edited by two individuals, DonCarlos Price and myself, Steve Castro.

As to the how, WordPress.

What makes Public Pool different from other places to read poetry (and literature) on the internet?

Our motto is "One Space For All Poets." We feel that we are inclusive and we often introduce poets (from all walks of life) who have never previously published poetry before or who might not be very well known in the poetry world as of yet. We have also published and continue to publish some of the most highly regarded poets currently writing in the English language today, so it would not be uncommon to see in Public Pool a poet published for the first time being featured alongside an established voice such as Martín Espada, which we have had the honor of publishing.

We also feature original videos and audio recordings of Public Pool poets, and we have a New Books of Poetry Feature, featuring books by poets whose books might have gone under the radar. Our most recent New Books of Poetry Features are two chapbooks, Wetlands by Catherine Moore (Dancing Girl Press) and IPOKIMEN (Anchor & Plume Press) by Alina Stefanescu.

We also have a Shout Out page where we give a shout out to a poet who we think did something memorable and we post a link to the origin of the source where we obtained the material. Last but not least, we also have a Right Now feature, where we post poetry by poets regarding current historical events as they are happening, such as the Louisiana Flood to use one of our recent examples.

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

Something that we love is when poets we publish mention how meaningful the poems they submitted to Public Pool are to them. Here are three recent examples. The poet, Kyle Dargan, who was my thesis adviser in graduate school, and a poet I've admired for some time, mentioned that his Public Pool poem "La Petitte Mort" was the truest thing he wrote all year, i.e., 2016. The poet, Keah Brown, mentioned that her two Public Pool poems "Bad Bones" and "Moments" are two of her favorite poems. The poet, Natalie Eilbert, had mentioned how proud she was of her three Public Pool poems "Hexodus," "Perviticus" and "Book of $$$$$$$" from her forthcoming collection Indictus (Noemi Press). That is what excites us, how meaningful the poems we publish are not only to us as editors, but to the poets who publish with us.

We are also excited by the response we get from our Public Pool readers. We get some really nice e-mails and tweets about the poets we publish, most recently, quite a number of readers have informed us that they truly enjoyed the poems we featured of Ally Ang, who is a phenomenal poet.

What should someone submitting work to Public Pool know about the site?

We don't typically reply unless we accept a poem. This used to be up on our site, but then we took it down as of late. We need to put it back up. If you do have any questions regarding submissions, feel free to email us.

We also recently changed our email (on Dec. 5, 2016) to We had three emails before then, a Public Pool e-mail and DonCarlos Price and I each had a personal Public Pool e-mail as well, and those three e-mails were getting to be too much, so we started fresh with one e-mail to keep things in order, We no longer have access to our other three e-mail accounts, but at least now, everything is in order. The aforementioned e-mail is the e-mail we will use for years to come. If you submitted to our old e-mail or have any questions, feel free to hit us up, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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

There are so many wonderful literary sites and journals. Here's a few worth checking out: Verse Daily, Harriet: The Poetry Foundation Blog, Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, Post No Ills Magazine, Button Poetry, Entropy, New Pages, Callaloo, Black Warrior Review,, Poets & Writers, Winter Tangerine, The Acentos Review, Kundiman, Canto Mundo, Cave Canem, Split This Rock, Plume Poetry Journal, the Letras Latinas Blog and of course, the Poetry Society of America. There are many more that we didn't mention. I'm also the assistant editor at decomP, and it's a lit. journal worth checking out as well.

Steve Castro's poetry appears in the anthologies, Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy (Wings Press) and The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States (Tia Chucha Press), as well as in The American Journal of Poetry, Verse Daily: Web Weekly Features, and elsewhere. He was recently interviewed by Midwestern Gothic.

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