Poetry is a unique art form. It is heartfelt, deep, and thought-provoking creative writing that offers nearly endless options to the writer. Spelling and grammar rules are optional, the formatting is limited only to your imagination, and no topic is off-limits. If you’re a poet, you might feel a desire to share your work with the world, as many do!
The question of how to publish poetry – and where – is an important consideration. So let’s break it down and look at the options.
This Guide on Where to Publish Peotry Covers:
Should You Publish Your Poetry?
Publishing poetry has many benefits, including monetary gain, growing your readership, and establishing a brand as an authorpreneur. Publishing can offer a sense of accomplishment and recognition for writers who desire it.
Reasons not to publish poetry are few and based on personal preference. For example, if poetry is solely a therapeutic practice for you, publishing those pieces (or having them rejected) might interfere with the mental and emotional benefits of the practice.
But if you’re ready to pursue this art publicly (you can always use a pen name!), there are many different places to publish poetry, so read on!
Where to Publish Poetry: 5 Different Ways and Places
When it comes to figuring out where to publish poetry, there are more options than you might think! Let’s go over a few routes you have in front of you.
1. Literary journals and magazines
Journals and literary magazines are the most traditional way to publish poetry. They are known to discuss literary theory and highlight the best works.
One pro of publishing in a journal or magazine is that, because of the high barrier to entry, it does reflect accomplishment. This makes publications a compelling thing to list on resumes, as well as applications to more publications. It can also give you a personal sense of gratification and accomplishment, which is pretty encouraging!
Another benefit is that traditional outlets sometimes pay per submission – depending on where you publish your poetry.
That can also become the drawback of this poetry publishing option, though. While you may sometimes receive payment upfront, it is often relatively small and doesn’t allow you to continually make money off that piece of poetry. This is unlike publishing your poetry as a book and self-publishing on platforms that offer continuous book royalties for each copy sold, downloaded, or listened to.
Another con is that the submission and waiting process could take months, and you have a pretty low chance of being accepted. Many writers see this process as a waste of time.
Submitting your poems to anthologies is a similar process to literary journals.
A few key differences are that the requirements are much more specific (anthologies typically follow a theme or want specific types of poems). You do stand to earn royalties if accepted, but it depends greatly on the publisher—most choose to pay their contributors once up front, then pocket the royalties for themselves.
Your poetry will likely receive much more attention in anthologies than in a journal.
Anthologies are significantly longer and more focused than a journal or magazine might be, meaning that readers will pay closer attention to your poems, which can be more effective for building your reputation as an author and growing a readership.
3. Traditionally-published collection
While many people use the terms “collection” and “anthology” interchangeably, there’s actually a significant difference between the two formats.
An anthology is a collection of authors, while a collection is written by one author.
Regardless of where you publish poetry, traditionally publishing your own collection will be the toughest option on this list. Unless you are an established author or you already have an audience (for example, Gabbie Hanna is a YouTube with multiple published poetry collections), selling a poetry collection to a publisher is a HUGE goal.
Not many can pull it off.
If you choose this path, your best bet is to have an impeccably written collection around an incredibly sellable topic. Even then, your chances range from low to none. Obviously, I won’t recommend you try this one.
Where to Publish Poetry: Traditional Publishing Options
When writers ask where to publish poetry, they want specifics. Here are some publishers currently open for poetry submissions.
- AGNI has no requirements for length or writer demographic. There is a $3 submission fee, unless you are submitting by mail (do people do that??).
- Thrush says, “Our taste is eclectic. We want poems that move us, a strong sense of imagery, emotion, with interesting and surprising use of language, words that resonate. We want fresh. We want voice. We want craft.” It is also noted on their submission page that they will not be paying you to publish your piece, which is unfortunately the norm in trad publishing spaces for short works.
- Ghost City Press accepts prose, visual art and photography, reviews, and poetry, as well as specifying the category of “other,” so send them any kind of art you’d like!
- Eunoia Review accepts poetry, fiction, and non-fiction on a rolling basis, meaning you can expect a fairly quick response time.
- Rattle pays writers between $100 and $200 to publish your piece.
- Read Wildness does not offer monetary compensation for publishing rights, but they do nominate for most major writing prizes.
- Frontier Poetry pays between $50 and $100 per poem, and they do not charge reading fees.
- Split Lip pays $75 per poem; submissions are free for Black writers.
4. Self-published collection
If you’re looking to have complete control of publishing and royalty payments, your best bet is going to be self-publishing a collection. Which may leave you thinking, “Okay, yes. But where to self-publish poetry? Isn't that difficult?”
You can, of course, “self-publish” poems separately by posting them on a blog or other medium, but for the most fiscal return on your efforts, you should consider a collection of poems in the form of a book. You can self-publish your book on multiple platforms, publish as an eBook, and even release an audio version (which could be really impactful for poetry!).
Not only do you control which of your pieces are included, but you control the line editing, formatting, cover aesthetics, and marketing. Not to mention the fact that you keep any money the collection makes rather than letting it funnel into someone else’s pocket.
The downside of this method is that you will be responsible for everything. But there are multiple self-publishing companies, online resources, classes, and individual professionals you can hire to make the process much more manageable. So don’t let the task of it scare you off! Putting a collection together can be fun, educational, and rewarding.
5. Some combination
Personally, I love double-dipping with my writing. I published many short stories and flash fiction traditionally in journals, magazines, and anthologies. Then, I waited for those publishing rights to revert back to me.
Once I had publishing rights, I created and self-published my own collection, which still pays me royalties years later.
Writing can be tricky to make into a living, so getting more mileage out of your work is well worth the effort.
Ultimately, deciding where to publish poetry you write is a personal decision.
Publishing poetry opens the door to a world of artistic connections, monetary compensation, artistic growth, and the potential to touch hearts with your words. Whether you choose the path of traditional publication or embrace the self-publishing journey, the decision to share something as personal as poetry with the world is a brave, worthwhile endeavor.