These poems are your babies. Now it's time to find your babies a good home. If your poems are good enough, they'll come back later on and help put you in a nice retirement home. If your poems fail to make a cut, they'll live in your basement for years, mooching your Cheese Whiz. Bastard poems.

There are four major markets (that is, types of outlets) in which you can get your poems published:

Electronic publications
Literary magazines
Directories of poetry publishers

Unlike the process with longer literary works, you will be for the most part engaging in this process on your own. Agents are generally not hired to handle submissions of individual poems, and unless you are famous or have some clout in the literary scene agents do not usually handle book publication either. Don't panic; this is good news. It means that you're in the same boat as everybody else. Reading this SYW will set you on the right path to avoiding major screw-ups.

The toughest part about finding a publication that will accept your poems is that you have probably repeatedly heard that "there are no markets for poetry anymore." Bull. There are plenty (as you'll see below). So now is the time to prove everyone wrong and introduce your writing to one or many of the many publications and publishing forums that accept poetry. The more you submit to, the better the chance that one of them will have your name in its table of contents.

The best place to start is e-zines and small but widely distributed literary magazines. This is because they are usually more desperate for good work, and thus, are more willing to take a chance on a new poet. They're also generally more responsive to your questions and more forgiving of any errors you may make due to inexperience.

Electronic publications

It is here that the publishing revolution is happening right before our eyes. Many poetry magazines and publishers have already experimented by putting some or all of their back catalogues onto electronic archives. The following are just a few professional poetry websites that might be worth your while to visit:

Yes, getting published in an online journal still counts as getting published. You just want to make sure that the e-zine is reputable. To find out, just visit the site and see what you think. Each e-zine has its own requirements on how to submit, so visit the sites, see which one matches your poetry best, and ask for submission guidelines.

Literary magazines

Literary periodicals and poetry journals are the other places where newcomers should begin. They're very reputable, especially among literary scholars, so getting published in one is a big deal. Some of the more popular literary magazines include:

  • Agni
  • American Letters and Commentary
  • Antioch Review
  • Atlantic Monthly
  • Black Warrior Review
  • Boulevard
  • Conjunctions
  • DoubleTake Magazine
  • Fence Magazine
  • Field Magazine
  • Five Points
  • Grand Street
  • Jacket
  • The Journal
  • Kenyon Review
  • Literal Latte
  • Modern Poetry in Translation
  • The Nation
  • The New Criterion
  • The New Republic
  • Painted Bride Quarterly
  • Partisan Review
  • Passages North
  • Ploughshares
  • PN Review
  • Poetry Calendar
  • Poetry Daily
  • Poetry Flash
  • Poetry Magazine
  • Poetry Review
  • Poets & Writers Magazine
  • Prairie Schooner
  • Prose Poem
  • Quarterly West
  • Slate
  • Stand Magazine
  • Threepenny Review
  • Thumbscrew
  • Tin House Literary Journal
  • Triquarterly Magazine
  • Verse Magazine
The publications listed above are large operations that usually claim to represent poetry as it is today. Their success in achieving this aim varies considerably. The list is by no means exclusive; there are others magazines which could well make acceptable claims for inclusion. They can be tough to get into (especially for a first-timer), but there are also magazines that restrict their content to work from a specific region:
  • Atlanta Review
  • Boston Book Review
  • Boston Review
  • Chicago Review
  • Denver Quarterly
  • Georgia Review
  • Gettysburg Review
  • Gulf Coast
  • Iowa Review
  • Massachusetts Review
  • Mississippi Review
  • Missouri Review
  • New England Review
  • The New Yorker
  • Notre Dame Review
  • Paris Review
  • Sewanee Review
  • Shenandoah
All of these journals do not want the same kind of poetry (if they did, how could they ever compete with each other?). Some want traditional, some want modern, some want classical, and some want gobbledygook. It is IMPERATIVE that you find out what type of poetry a journal wants before you send your work in, and if you decide to submit, to follow its submission guidelines. So buy a sample copy first (or if you're poor like we are, stand in a bookstore, read the journal, and put it back on the shelf when you're done). See if they have a website, and if they do, go to it.

Directories of poetry publishers

In the "reference" or "writing reference" section of a bookstore, you should find a vast array of directories of poetry publishers which will give you guidance as to where to send your work. The American Directories: Poet's Market, Len Fulton's Poet's Market, and The Co-Ordinating Council of Literary Magazine's Directory of Little Magazines are quite popular and provide extensive information on poetry publishers. These guides will provide you with the basic information you'll need, such as:

  • Publication name
  • Contact name
  • Address
  • A few-lines worth of description of the publication

While these directory listings are incredibly useful, your best bet is to see the actual publications themselves before submitting any of your material. The directories will often provide snail mail addresses to which you can write for a sample issue of a magazine. Take a look at back issues and current issues to help determine what niche you think your poetry would best fit into before sending your work off on it's merry way.


It might seem intuitive to try this forum first if your main goal is to find wide readership. Unfortunately, if you aren't Seamus Heaney or Rainer Maria Rilke (uh, they're famous poets), this really is NOT the best way to break in. They only want famous poets. Not you.

Above all, publishers are looking for insightful, thought-provoking verse that creates a mood or image. But hey, we can't tell you how to write poetry - all we can do is improve your chances of getting it seen by the right people.