I suppose every poet has a set list of magazines he or she regularly sends poems to. It’s often a matter of selecting the magazines you most enjoy reading yourself, and being familiar with a magazine’s contents is the best way to ensure that you send them poems which you think will fit best in that setting. And every magazine is different; has been set up and directed because it wants to be different from the others.
I’ve recently done a big ‘send-out’ to magazines, so I thought I’d write a bit about the magazines I regularly send to, which are also, as it happens, the ones I most like to read. I subscribe to about half a dozen magazines, and I read others on the welcoming shelves of the Scottish Poetry Library. I’m not saying these are the ones I’ve recently submitted poems to, or even that they are ones I’ve been published in. Some have never accepted my work, but I keep sending, because ‘hope springs eternal’ as the saying goes. As editor of the Poetry Scotland website I can testify to the fact that some authors clearly haven’t troubled to read the poems on the Open Mouse page. I get some very inappropriate submissions.
Some have submission policies which allow email submissions, and these tend to be (although not always) the quickest to respond. Some of them will only accept submissions in the body of the email; others will take them as attachments. Of the postal-only submissions, some will want name and address on every (numbered) page; others demand anonymity on the page. So it’s crucial that new writers read submission guidelines carefully. I’ve sometimes thought it would be a useful service to compile a database of magazines and their submission policies, and I remain hopeful that some kind person might take that job on some day.
So here are some of the magazines I regularly read, and sometimes submit work to:
Poetry Scotland. A broadsheet, which publishes nothing but poems. I tend to be sparing in my submissions, because Sally Evans and I are friends, and I want to keep it that way.
Northwords Now. Chris Powici has recently taken over as editor. I have a long association with this magazine.
Gutter. A relatively new magazine, which I find consistently exciting and fresh.
Magma. A well-produced and well-edited magazine, which rotates editorship every issue.
Poetry Review. This is probably the poetry magazine with the biggest circulation, so the volume of submissions must be enormous.
iota. I really like the direction its new editor is taking this magazine.
Smiths Knoll. A consistently good read, and the editors consistently have the shortest turn-around on submissions.
The Rialto. An A4 format magazine, with probably the longest turn-around of any of magazines I send to – can be 9 months.
Ambit. I have a great affection for this magazine which, like Gutter, publishes fiction as well as poetry.
Envoi. Published in Wales, but with content which is international in origin.
The Eildon Tree. Published in the Scottish Borders, and recently changed format to a free broadsheet.
That’s probably enough to be going on with. Incidentally, why do so many poetry magazines have one-word titles? (Just asking)