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Getting published/entering competitions – tips from the experts

The weather’s terrible, I am a ‘music widow’ today and I feel the urge to reconnect with what makes poetry good, and conversely what’s BAD about the stuff I’ve had rejected lately. Yes, it’s time for some serious reading and some BIG edits!

I recently came across Tim Love’s excellent LitRefs Articles blog – and read again his piece about getting poetry published in the UK, a very useful resource, and it got me looking out a few other pieces I had bookmarked about getting published or entering poetry competitions.

For example, on Staple Magazine‘s website there’s Wayne Burrows’ lovely piece entitled Five Reasons Why A Writer’s Work Might Be Returned By An Editor…* (*…that have nothing to do with whether it’s actually good enough for publication) – read the comments too, they are entertaining.

Happenstance has a free download The Dos and Don’ts of Poetry Submission – to access it you have to go through a registration process and possibly input your credit card details (I think, although I didn’t get that far), although you’re not charged anything. I mention this article because I’m fairly sure I’ve read it on a blog at some point and found it useful even though it’s now behind a registration wall.

The Poetry Society has some useful FAQs about poetry publication amongst other things…

On the subject of entering competitions – on her blog, Abegail Morley recently interviewed Bill Greenwell about what judges look for in poetry competitions, and here’s George Szirtes’s interview with Ian Duhig on the thorny question of what poetry competitions are actually for… (George S is himself of course a veteran of the poetry competition judging scene, and there are plenty of his wise words on the subject elsewhere on the web)

And finally, a feast of tasty information (huh?) on Abegail Morley’s The Poetry Shed which includes an interview with Helen Ivory on judging competitions, ‘recipes for success’ from various magazine editors, and a bonus piece at the end about drafting a poem, by Kim Moore.

These are just a few articles I’m aware of – do you have more to add to the list – pieces on getting published or winning competitions, that you’ve found helpful/entertaining/informative? Do share – thanks!

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Robin Houghton 2024