How to decide what poems to send to a journal?


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Thread: How to decide what poems to send to a journal?

  1. #1

    How to decide what poems to send to a journal?

    I have been sending some of my poetry to literary magazines and journals, and the main roadblock I've run into is trying to decide what to send. I used to just send my favorites, but in my (limited) experience with publishing, many times the ones I think are great get rejected, whereas the ones I think are meh get accepted.

    Generally, literary magazines suggest reading their magazine to get a feel for what they publish, but unless they have a set theme (feminist, mental health, themed issues), usually the only thing I get out of that is, "Uh. . .they don't publish rhyming poetry." Which is pretty much a given in the market anyways.

    Lately, I've just been seeking out set themes because I don't have any other way to narrow down what I want to send. But if you have any other advice I'd much appreciate it. Thanks!
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  2. #2
    It's a crap-shoot. That's all I can say. One thing I have learned is that "reviews" tend to be published by colleges. The editors are usually students in post-graduate literary programs. They select poems by committee, which means that everyone has to agree on what gets published. This means that the worst poems probably don't get published but neither do the best. The poems that get published are the ones that don't offend anyone or don't push the creative envelope too much.

    The other thing that seems obvious is that social media has watered down the general quality of poetry by saturating the internet with doggerel. Poetry journals looking for readership have to compete with this kind of short attention span, self-indulgent solipsism, so contemporary poetry has become much more populist. It leans toward prose and story-telling. If you look at the poetry published in the decade or two before the internet, you'll find that it is generally much better than what is being published today.

  3. #3
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    Misery poetry seems to go well, the oh poor me, what a hard life I've had stuff. A fairly recent major prize winner was a raft of poems about her marriage breakdown. I used to get Poetry Review, but found most of the poems were Meh as far as I was concerned. I rate about 20% of published poems, but then, I found Eliot's Four Quartets unreadable, so maybe it's just me...
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bloggsworth View Post
    Misery poetry seems to go well, the oh poor me, what a hard life I've had stuff.
    Ha! Doesn't bode well for someone who rarely writes about personal experiences, I guess.
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by TL Murphy View Post
    One thing I have learned is that "reviews" tend to be published by colleges.
    Meaning the colleges of which the authors are alumni?
    "So long is the way to the unknown, long is the way we have come. . ." ~ Turisas, Five Hundred and One

    "[An artist is] an idiot babbling through town. . .crying, 'Dreams, dreams for sale! Two for a kopek, two for a song; if you won't buy them, just take them for free!'" ~ Michael O' Brien,
    Sophia House

    Christ is risen from the dead,
    trampling on Death by death,
    And on those in the tombs,
    lavishing light.



  6. #6
    Not necessarily. I think it may start off that way but then the journal expands to include the general public but the publication is produced by college students.

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