Some Advice on Publishing Poetry


(Left) Odin scattering the mead of poetry over the Earth.


     When asked how you would set about publishing poetry, MICHELLE LOVRIC (author of 'The Unborn Child' and 'The Book of Human Skin') said:

“There are quite a lot of competitions for poetry ... entering as many of those as possible, and winning a few, is a way to get noticed by publishers.
        Also, getting published in as many reputable poetry magazines as possible.
       Also - doing a lot of readings at places like the Troubadour and even open-mikes at the Poetry Society in Betterton Street. Poets live and die by self-generated publicity even more than novelists.

There are also competitions for which the prize is publication of a pamphlet. Some poets I know also self-publish an attractive pamphlet that can then be sent as a taster to 'real' publishers.”


ANNE ROONEY, aka 'The Stroppy Author' said:

"I think it's usual for poets to publish individual poems for years and then get a book deal if pigs start flying.”



JANE EAGLAND, author of 'Wildthorn' said:

          “I agree with Michelle - most poets I know have started out with individual poems published or competition wins. There's a very good website for all things poetical:

This lists competitions. You can also  search for 'getting published.' It has interviews with poets describing how they did it.

Not so directly relevant but still useful is:

 This is the online collection of poetry magazines held by the Poetry Library. Good for researching what the different magazines are like before sending stuff out."

    (What Jane is hinting here is that you shouldn't waste your time sending your stuff to magazines that publish entirely different stuff to yours.  Target your submissions.)


        NICK GREEN (The Cat Kin) said:

“Getting anything published these days is dead easy.

Persuading someone to pay you for it -- that's hard.

Which do you want?

If I wrote poetry I doubt I'd even try to get a commercial book of it published. I'd put it on a blog -- it'd get many more readers that way."


MIRIAM HALAHMY (Hidden) said:

Very useful feedback, and I'd agree with all of it. I would also add that this is a very difficult market to break into and often replies, even from magazines when you submit a couple of poems, can take forever. If your students are serious then it is just a question of sticking at it. Poetry competitions are notoriously hard to win or even get commended in. The poet Gregory Warren Wilson reckoned you needed to make up to 30 submissions a year to competitions to get noticed.

Most importantly you need to network, get out there, read your poetry, meet the magazine editors and be persistent.