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    A Word of Appreciation

    We farewell our poetry editor A. M. Juster.

    By Peter Mommsen

    June 4, 2024

    After four years as Plough’s poetry editor, A. M. Juster has let us know that with this issue he is concluding his service in that role. As his fellow editors, we’re immensely grateful for the lasting mark Juster has left on Plough’s poetry program, and wish him the best for his many other endeavors. His successor will be announced in the coming months.

    A poet, translator, and essayist, Juster established Plough’s Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award in 2021. Each year he evaluated hundreds of submissions singlehandedly to select the finalists, with the winners selected by the full editorial board for publication in the subsequent issue. In addition, for each other issue of the magazine he invited an accomplished poet to submit two or three original poems.

    speakers on a stage

    A. M. Juster speaks about poetry at the Plough Writers Weekend, 2023. Photograph by Reuben Mow.

    Juster is known as a key figure in the New Formalist school, which aims to create poetry that speaks to a wide audience through the use of classical forms and everyday themes. He’s also a champion of light verse, to which he’s made his own memorable contributions in the 2015 collection Sleaze & Slander. All the same, as an editor, Juster has been ecumenical in his commissions, with an appreciation for a wide variety of schools and styles.

    In an interview for Plough with Australian poet Stephen Edgar, Juster said: “If you look at the people whose poetry I admire, they’re going out and doing things that they are passionate about. And I think that ultimately flavors their poetry. I liked having challenges out in the world. I think that gave me more interesting poems. When I was younger, sometimes I would just sit down and stare at a blank page, but now not so much. I need to have something that I’m thinking about that grips me to go and really want to spend the time in this struggle.”

    I know many readers will join me in thanking A. M. Juster for his dedication to bringing great poetry to the pages of Plough. We’ll miss his enthusiasm, wisdom, and wit, but look forward to continuing to follow his work at or @amjuster. Any readers with even just a budding interest in poetry will do themselves a favor if they pick up his marvelous 2021 collection Wonder and Wrath.

    Contributed By portrait of Peter Mommsen Peter Mommsen

    Peter Mommsen is editor of Plough magazine. He lives in upstate New York with his wife, Wilma, and their three children.

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