Linsey Abrams and Global City Review

I met Linsey Abrams when I was in Graduate School in 2002.  I took her novel workshop at Sarah Lawrence College and confessed that although I was admitted as a poet I thought I was a novelist.  She graciously agreed that I could be a fiction writer and treated me as one.  Her words gave me the encouragement I needed at that moment to become a writer.  Later when I was invited to work on Global City Review, a journal she founded in 1993, I immediately agreed.  Before I pursued an MFA I spent years producing independent films, so my first assignment for GCR was to write essays on art and film.   Working closely on a prestigious journal gave me the confidence to view myself as part of the literary world – not an elite New York City literary world defined by the culture or publishers, but one that all of us who were working on, reading and subscribing to the journal participated in.  We were graduate students, artists, and writers from all over the country and world.  We represented the global city that we imagined as citizens, activists, writers and editors.  Linsey had excellent advice on how to produce a journal but her guiding principle was “to publish the best writing that shows our humanity.”

After I graduated, I struggled as we all do to make a life writing and teaching.  When I eventually reconnected with Linsey who was the Director of the MFA program at City College of New York, she asked me to become the poetry editor for the review.  In those days we received all our submissions by mail.   We were not only a journal that published award winning writers like Joan Silber, Jean Valentine, Marilyn French and Fredric Tuten but I remember the thrill of reading the list of subscribers which included feminists, activists, journalists and one of my favorite poets, Adrienne Rich. 

Later, Global City Press published my first book of poems, NORTADA, THE NORTH WIND.  My debt to Linsey Abrams, Global City Review and Press and to all the writers in the collective I’ve worked with over the years is enormous.  It changed my life and my fortune.  Linsey Abrams is a brilliant novelist, essayist, poet and a beloved teacher. There are hundreds of us who had the good luck to study with Linsey at Sarah Lawrence and City College.  I speak for many when I express my gratitude to her for inspiring us as writers and citizens.  We are grateful to her for founding Global City Review and Press where we have developed our skills as editors and publishers.   In this historical moment, it is these stories, essays, poems and art that we share with our readers that make up the path to change.

Thank you L.A.

–Michelle Yasmine Valladares