|The Blind PressPO Box 18219Denver, CO 80218-0219
To Do and NOT To Do ...
- DO name your poem thoughtfully. Your title is the first thing an editor sees, and it should NOT be one of the following, deadly-common titles: Insomnia, Suicide, Melancholy, Life or Death. Be specific, especially if your title is just one word. Try not to use cliches as titles unless it is necessary for some reason (see below for a list of cliches).
- Avoid cliches, phrases that are overused and no longer make people think. Cliches are boring and unoriginal. Poems that stand out have metaphors and comparisons that you have personally observed or created. Cliches are so common that you may not always realize that you use them. Here are some examples: Adding insult to injury, all work and no play, better late than never, bitter end, bottom of the barrel, cut like a knife, cut and dried, hell or high water, hitting the nail on the head, pride and joy, thin as a rail, wildest dreams, vicious cycle, up a creek, rude awakening, etc.
- Use a plain font on plain paper. While some editors don't care what your submission looks like, I know quite a few who absolutely hate bright colored paper with scripted fonts. It is harder to read, especially for someone who has just read 100 other poems.
A Must-Read List
- Besides the millions of market listings, The Poet's Market contains invaluable information about everything from cover letters to finding the markets and contests that are right for your work. You don't have to buy a copy every year; go to a book store and take notes, or buy a used copy on half.com. Most listings have websites where you can check to ensure that submission guidelines have stayed the same.
- Many poets submit work for publication with little idea of what other poets write. It is OBVIOUS to editors and publishers when a submitting poet does not read at all. Pick up Norton's Anthology, The American Poetry Review, or any of those annual journals that are available at Barnes & Noble and local stores. Read a variety, not just your favorites. In many cases, the most talented free-verse and free-form poets have spent time learning about classic poetry. Their understanding makes them stronger writers, and allows them to incorporate many different styles into their work.
- There are many books on writing poetry. They can be very helpful tools, especially if you want to learn meter and unusual styles. Some titles that we like are The Poet's Companion (Addonizio & Laux) and Writing Poems (Wallace).
- If you don't know grammer rules, learn. Pick up Woe Is I, The Elements of Grammer, and the handy Pocket Guide to Punctuation.
Links for Poetry Writers
- Writer's Resource Center
- Poetry America's Tips Page
- Winning Writers Contest Listings & Links
- Poetry Daily
- Poets & Writers
- Dustbooks Directory of Poetry Publishers
- Poetry Flash Western US Poetry News
- Poetry Power Tips
- Writers Write
- Poetry Magic
Markets for Poetry
(Check out website, send SASE or email for submission Info.)
- Nerve Cowboy
- Iodine Poetry Journal, PO Box 18548, Charlotte, NC 28218-0548, email@example.com
- Main Street Rag
- The Diddler, 30 Saroni Court, Oakland, CA 94611-1415
- Poesy Magazine
- Bear Creek Haiku, PO Box 3787, Boulder, CO 80307