Getting Poetry Published

      I assume what you were asking in the Fidonet Poetry Echo was how to go about getting poetry sold to magazines, etc..  Here's the basic run down, and I assume things are roughly similar in the New Zealand market.
      First, realize that there is no money in publishing poetry.  If you want to get the poems read, then proceed, otherwise skip it. Money is made from poetry only by using the publication of it to get other writing jobs or teaching jobs.  Writing lyrics, however, (which I know little about) is a huge and lucrative industry.  Sung poetry is alive and well.
      Second, look around in your environment for any publications that publish the kind of poetry that you like to write.  For literary poetry this starts with a trip to the local college library and looking through the periodicals for literary magazines.  Take addresses, check out writer's guidelines.  Make up your own database.  For other kinds of poetry there are always scores of markets, including some newspapers, and many non poetry magazines that use them as filler.  Look through the magazine racks in stores, take names and addresses.
     There are also some books that list markets, including the Writer's Market poetry volume (I assume they sell them in N. Z.) and an expensive volume called something like The International Guide to Little Magazines and Small Presses.  I have never managed to sell anything to markets I got from those sources.  The former because EVERYBODY buys those WM. books and they deluge the listed markets with poems; the latter because it's always out of date and full of already dead markets.  They both seem to be a waste of money here in the States.  Might be different from your perspective.
      There are also contests.  Never, under any circumstances, enter a contest with a reading fee or which requires you to buy copies of the "anthology" or anything like that.  They are usually scams, and always a waste of effort.
      Next, once you have a list of the markets you want to try to break, prepare manuscripts.  Format is simple.  Typed, one side of page.  One poem per page.  Name, address, email address, and phone number in upper left corner.  Number of lines in upper right corner ( "34 lines") because poetry, if it is paid for in anything other than copies, is paid for by the line.  Poems are single spaced, not double like a prose manuscript.  You can double space between stanzas or sections, of course.  Three blank lines after the title.   Lay it out basically the way you do on the Poetry echo.  The one trick is if the poem is more than one page long.  If so you number the pages at the bottom and at the bottom right of each but the last page, in parentheses (and a different type face if possible) you put either "continues next page; stanza break" or "continues next page; no stanza break" as appropriate.
      Now you take 3-5 poems (I never have done more than 3) and mail them to a market.  You may fold them into a business envelope, and include an SASE for their return.  Or SAE with one or two IRCs if sending to another country.  (I don't know if you have some special postal arrangement with Australia, etc..)  I know you have a lot of poems, so you could probably hit every market in your database at the same time.  Keep track of what has been where.  And keep hitting the same markets.  The reason is that poetry markets often resist newcomers until they become familiar.  And just as with prose, you are teaching the editor to hear your voice.  It may take a number of tries before you break in to a market that would be viable for you, and it isn't always the quality of the offerings that makes the difference.  (An example is Asimov's SF Magazine.  They rejected my poems the first ten times, and then they started buying half of what I sent.  No gradual build-up, just nothing to 50%.)
      That's basically it, until you sell something, and then you mention that sale in every cover letter you send after that.  (No real reason for a cover letter at all until you have a sale, unless you'd feel more comfortable saying something like "here are x poems for your consideration".)  I know it's discouraging, but you haven't even tested the waters until you have racked up a couple of hundred rejections.  If you haven't sold by then, well, maybe you haven't got it.  But you could easily be good and get quite a number of rejections before a sale.
      As I may have pointed out a couple of times in the Poetry echo, the realm of genre poetry is a much easier nut to crack than mainstream poetry.  SF, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery magazines often publish poems and the competition is far less fierce.  There are quite a number of online markets for poetry of this type, and all types, as well.

Any questions, just ask.
And good luck.



is a published writer,  whose work appears in many places on the net, as well as in the more orthodox world of printer and publisher.  I've read his advice to writers who are beginning their career before, and been fascinated by his discussions on 'the best places to write', 'where inspiration comes from'. 

His permission to reprint 'getting poetry published' was conditional on our telling you that this was a  reply to a question  in email. 

Well worth thinking about thought, don't you think?