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Issue #110
Current Issue

Writers of high school age

For writing teachers and all who love poetry

When We were Countries



When We Were Countries : The Hanging Loose Press High School Writing Collection

When We Were Countries is a collection of extraordinary poems and stories by 73 of the nation’s most outstanding high school age writers. All the work first appeared in the special high school section of Hanging Loose magazine, the standard for cutting-edge work by teenage writers since 1968, offering young writers the opportunity to have their work published alongside that of professionals in one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished literary journals. The poetry and fiction in this volume, as in the previous three, has been selected by Hanging Loose editors Mark Pawlak, Dick Lourie, and Robert Hershon. And When We Were Countries incorporates a new feature not included in the previous collections. Four accomplished poet/teachers share their perspectives on how they have nurtured teen writers: Marty Skoble teaches at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn; Kathleen Aguero is a professor at Pine Manor College near Boston and instructs teenagers every summer at the New York State Young Writers Institute; Kip Zegers teaches at New York City’s Hunter College High School; and Joanna Fuhrman instructs students at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She is also an alumna of the magazine: Her own early poems first appeared in the Hanging Loose high school section 20 years ago, and she has gone on to publish four volumes of poetry, the most recent of which won the prestigious 2009 Kinereth Gensler Award.

Poet and critic X. J. Kennedy concludes his introduction to When We Were Countries with these words:
“ . . . any old futzers who assume that teen-agers nowadays spend all their time at video games or texting away on their cell phones will suddenly wise up and find reason to rejoice. To anyone over the age of (maybe) ten, these stories and poems will ring true. To any young writer: as you toil at your computer screen or paper, this book will assure you that you are not alone. Teachers: you’ll be heartened and encouraged by what this rich gathering proves possible. Everybody: grab this book, if you know what’s good for you. Devour it, digest it, and be regaled.”


ISBN: 978-1-934909-05-8 (pbk.) $19.00
ISBN: 978-1-934909-06-5 (cloth) $29.00



SHOOTING THE RAT: Outstanding Poems and Stories by High School Writers

Shooting the Rat is a collection of extraordinary poems and stories by 93 of the nation’s most outstanding high school writers. All the work first appeared Hanging Loose magazine's high school section, the standard for cutting-edge work by teenaged writers since 1968, including the annual Seaman Award winning poems, and four poems that were later published in The Best American Poetry of 1996 , edited by distinguished poet Adrienne Rich--not an anthology of high school work, but a selection from the best American poets writing today. Shooting the Rat is the third volume in this highly praised series.

“All the concerns that course through the lives of young people today have found their way into these terrific poems and stories. This third collection, as the two before it, most definitely should be in high school libraries and in the hands of English teachers everywhere. If public libraries have not added this to their collections they have been remiss.”—KLIATT, September 2003

“…images leap from the pages full of surprises, from classical allusions to brand name references, presenting readers with sharps slices of life and a variety of philosophical musings. The prose pieces – some stories, other captured moments – showcase writers who have mastered their craft and found their voices.”-- VOYA, October 2003 (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“All the selections are of high quality and demonstrate a wide variety of poetic forms and themes, making this offering a valuable addition to poetry collections and a great introduction to the craft itself….” School Library Journal, October 2003

TP: 978-1-931236-23-2, $16.
HC: 978-1-931236-24-9, $26.


BULLSEYE: Stories and Poems by Outstanding High School Writers.

Edited by Mark Pawlak and Dick Lourie with Robert Hershon and Ron Schreiber.

An extraordinary collection from the pages of Hanging Loose magazine's celebrated High School Writers section.

"Sixty eight young writers from 18 states are represented, and their short stories and poems are variously passionate, funny, nostalgic, wise, clever, and above all, inspiring to other young writers. . . . Kudos to Hanging Loose Press for bringing these writings to a wide audience."


"Each of the authors has a distinct, original voice and brings freshness and vitality to the subject matter. Make sure this volume gets into the hands of creative writing teachers and all those students who like to write for their own pleasure. If one way to become a better writer is to read lots of good writing, then readers should be tremendously encouraged and helped by this collection."

--School Library Journal

256 pages. Paper: ISBN 978-1-882413-12-6, $15.00
Cloth: ISBN 978-1-882413-12-X, $25.00 OUT OF PRINT


And in its fourth printing...


SMART LIKE ME: High School Age Writing from the Sixties to Now.

"The levels of insight and maturity are often astounding."--School Library Journal. "Any teacher who's worked with teen-age writers will be cheered and re-inspired." -- X.J. Kennedy. "It will encourage teenage writers."--Booklist. "Give it to old fogies who maunder on about what the younger generation's coming to."

--Village Voice

160 pages. Paper: ISBN 978-0-914610-58-8, $10.00
Cloth: ISBN 978-0-914610-59-5, $20.00





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