Getting my poetry published

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
Post Reply
User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1040
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Getting my poetry published

Post by Perry » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:22 pm

Rattle has just rejected poems nos. 18, 19, 20 and 21 that I have submitted to them (meaning they have now rejected 21 of my poems, including some of my best). Admittedly, Rattle is not the best market for my work. They don't like metered poetry, or poetry with any kind of rhythm at all. Most of what is published there is prosaic. But I keep trying because they pay, and I am poor. I have also tried a bunch of online journals for formalist poems, and they have also rejected my work. I could keep trying with those journals, but I really don't have the appetite to keep pushing my poetry on editors who don't seem to like it. Consequently, one or two rejections and I give up.

Part of me feels that I should just throw my poems onto a blog and hope that I develop a following. If I take the blog route, I could, after a few years of that, try to get a chapbook published or -- heaven forbid -- a full-sized book. One of my concerns is that at age 69 (next month), I could die at any time. If I put my poems on a blog and croak, my poems will at least be available for a year or two until the blog is deemed inactive and deleted. If I behave as if I have all the time in the world to get published -- in other words, as if I were young -- then the reality is that my poems will likely be thrown away with my computer when I die. That thought is making the blog idea seem more appealing.

I'm acquainted with two poets. Rhina Espaillat has published nine volumes (I think), and she has children who will take over her poems when she dies, who will try to get the remainder published. I have no children, and I'm estranged from my siblings.

For a while I was corresponding with Robert Lavett Smith. Smith's situation is that he is fantastically productive. He goes through periods of writing a poem a day, sometimes two. A book that contains all his poems would be the size of a Bible. So he is essentially doing the blog thing, except that he is publishing on Facebook. He does, however, have an editor who will probably take over his work when he dies.

So shall I go ahead and start doing the blog thing, or should I keep torturing editors with my scribbles which are written in a quasi-formal style which isn't popular anywhere in the world?
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by David » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:16 pm

I don't know, Perry! I can see the attraction of the blog thing, but it might be dispiriting to do that and still no garner no attention from the outside world.

I thought there were quite a lot of formalist mags - on-line and off - in the States now?

The only thing I've submitted to Rattle - ages ago - was rejected too, but I consoled myself along the same lines as you have. And with saying - which is true - that I didn't much like what they tended to publish anyway.

Our Great Progenitor, here at PG - now largely dormant, sadly - has a great poem on this subject:

Zen and the Art of Submitting Poetry

Rejection does not make you a bad poet.
Acceptance does not make you a good one.
Therefore, neither should trouble you.

Chase after fame, however, and you put your life
Into the hands of others:
They will tip you between hope and despair.

Aim, then, to be aimless.
Seek neither publication, nor acclaim:
Submit without submitting.

barrett
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:36 am

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by barrett » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:32 pm

I'm no expert but if you're hoping to earn any sort of money from poetry then I imagine you'd have a very long wait. Unless you become an Instagram poet, of course! You could start a blog of your poetry but you would need to put a huge amount of social media work in to get any sort of following. Also, once you've published your poems on a personal blog it's unlikely any publisher will touch them.

I suppose the question has to be asked, why do you want to publish a book? It's unlikely you'll earn any money from it. If, like you say, you have no family to speak of, who will read it? Who are you leaving your words for?

There's a plethora of poetry magazines out there, in print and online, and the majority don't pay. I know I used to send mine off to be published because, well, what else do you do with the bloody things once they've been written? Saying that, I did get paid once for a poem a few years back... £10.00... and that magazine went bust after the first issue!

There's always the open mic circuit to get your poems out there. Not my area of expertise at all, but I assume you could get some chapbooks published and flog them at places you're reading.

Or, you could always try writing prose instead!

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1040
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by Perry » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:27 am

David wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:16 pm
I don't know, Perry! I can see the attraction of the blog thing, but it might be dispiriting to do that and still no garner no attention from the outside world.

At least there would be a chance that some people are reading it. The problem with today's world is that everyone is publishing on the internet, so very few voices get noticed.

I thought there were quite a lot of formalist mags - on-line and off - in the States now?

Not as many as you might imagine! The problem for me is that after a few rejections from a particular magazine, I feel that I've gotten a message -- "We don't like your writing style" -- and I should back off. It's not in my nature to be pushy. Of course, every magazine is swamped with poems and can't possibly publish everything they are getting.

The only thing I've submitted to Rattle - ages ago - was rejected too, but I consoled myself along the same lines as you have. And with saying - which is true - that I didn't much like what they tended to publish anyway.

I have three issues of Rattle, and there isn't one poem in any of them that I really like.

Our Great Progenitor, here at PG - now largely dormant, sadly - has a great poem on this subject:

Zen and the Art of Submitting Poetry

Rejection does not make you a bad poet.
Acceptance does not make you a good one.
Therefore, neither should trouble you.

Chase after fame, however, and you put your life
Into the hands of others:
They will tip you between hope and despair.

Aim, then, to be aimless.
Seek neither publication, nor acclaim:
Submit without submitting.

Interesting poem. What was your Great Progenitor's name?
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1040
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by Perry » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:38 am

barrett wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:32 pm
I'm no expert but if you're hoping to earn any sort of money from poetry then I imagine you'd have a very long wait. Unless you become an Instagram poet, of course! You could start a blog of your poetry but you would need to put a huge amount of social media work in to get any sort of following. Also, once you've published your poems on a personal blog it's unlikely any publisher will touch them.

No, getting paid isn't important to me. I just want to know that someone is reading what I write, even if it's only ten people.

I don't see why a publisher would turn down an author just because he published on a personal blog. Most books of poetry contain pre-published works.


I suppose the question has to be asked, why do you want to publish a book? It's unlikely you'll earn any money from it. If, like you say, you have no family to speak of, who will read it? Who are you leaving your words for?

Are you seriously asking me that?

There's a plethora of poetry magazines out there, in print and online, and the majority don't pay. I know I used to send mine off to be published because, well, what else do you do with the bloody things once they've been written? Saying that, I did get paid once for a poem a few years back... £10.00... and that magazine went bust after the first issue!

I've given you the wrong impression -- getting money isn't my main interest.

There's always the open mic circuit to get your poems out there. Not my area of expertise at all, but I assume you could get some chapbooks published and flog them at places you're reading.

Poetry to me is a written art, not a performance art. Besides, there are no places near me with "open mics".

Or, you could always try writing prose instead!

Or I could just stop writing poetry and slash my wrists.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

barrett
Productive Poster
Productive Poster
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:36 am

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by barrett » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:41 pm

Perry wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:38 am
I don't see why a publisher would turn down an author just because he published on a personal blog. Most books of poetry contain pre-published works.
You might be right but I think a lot of publishers make a distinction between pre-published poems (i.e. in a reputable lit mag, and then only as a percentage of the collection) and self-published poems on a blog which are freely available to all to read.
Perry wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:38 am
Are you seriously asking me that?
Yes, of course! What's wrong with asking that? It's a question I've asked myself in the past. When I first started writing poetry I liked the idea of having a pamphlet or collection published so I sent stuff off the mags to build up a bit of a profile. Now I have no interest in it whatsoever. I don't even submit to the mags any more. I still write because I enjoy writing, but that's about it. Why do you want to have a collection published? I'm asking it rhetorically because it's an interesting question to ask yourself, obviously you don't have to answer.

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1040
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by Perry » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:10 pm

Thank you for clarifying.
Perry wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:38 am
I suppose the question has to be asked, why do you want to publish a book? It's unlikely you'll earn any money from it. If, like you say, you have no family to speak of, who will read it? Who are you leaving your words for?
The answer is, for the same reason that every poet writes: It is a form of self-expression and communication, and a way to add to the collective beauty of the world. All artists want their art to be appreciated. It doesn't have to be my family that appreciates it. In fact, I suspect that very few poets write for their families.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

David
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 13711
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by David » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:19 pm

Perry wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:27 am
David wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:16 pm

Our Great Progenitor, here at PG - now largely dormant, sadly - has a great poem on this subject:

Zen and the Art of Submitting Poetry

Rejection does not make you a bad poet.
Acceptance does not make you a good one.
Therefore, neither should trouble you.

Chase after fame, however, and you put your life
Into the hands of others:
They will tip you between hope and despair.

Aim, then, to be aimless.
Seek neither publication, nor acclaim:
Submit without submitting.

Interesting poem. What was your Great Progenitor's name?
This was Cameron Self, the founder - with his better half, Nicky - of Poets' Graves.

User avatar
Perry
Preponderant Poster
Preponderant Poster
Posts: 1040
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Getting my poetry published

Post by Perry » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:16 am

Cameron's state of dormancy -- does that mean he is retired or dead or doing other things?

I have hatched an idea about how I might make some money with a "joke" web site. I could sell book titles. Book titles, of course (here in the U.S. at least), are not copyrightable, but the point of the site would be the joke, you see. For example, under books about Donald Trump, I could sell such titles as:

"How to Be a Dotard Without Really Trying"
"How to Lie Your Way into Power"
"Fool-Proof Ways to Trigger World War III"
"Legal Techniques for Cheating Your Business Partners"

Et cetera. The beauty of selling only book titles is that I wouldn't have to write any books.

Of course, this has nothing to do with poetry, but it would be fun. I would sell each title for a dollar.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

Post Reply