Skip to Content

Advice for poets


What poets can do to develop their writing

Practical advice to develop links with publishers, reprinted from Free Verse: Publishing opportunities for Black and Asian poets.

  1. Research: read magazines, and learn about their submissions policies and what they're looking for. Read as much contemporary poetry as possible and ask yourself: what is being written at the moment? Are there prevailing themes, styles and forms that are in fashion?
  2. Network: get out there, attend readings and festivals, try to meet poets, editors and anyone working in poetry publishing.
  3. Submit your work to magazines: be persistent, follow up submissions and ask, politely, for feedback. Take on board advice and don't be discouraged., learn from it and keep trying.
  4. Learn: attend poetry workshops, courses and writing groups. Sharing your work is a good test of how well it works and of the progress you are making. Seek constructive criticism and use it.
  5. Develop: if you can find a mentor, or an informal writing buddy or online tutor to give you feedback, do so or join an established scheme.
  6. Advice: seek advice from established poets. Most are approachable, especially at events, and as long as you don't bother them too much, they are keen to help.
  7. Print a chap-book or pamphlet and use it to submit work to presses and to sell at events. It will convince people there is an audience for your work. Set up a website and advertise your work.

Free Verse

Reprinted from Free Verse: publishing opportunities for Black and Asian poets. To see the full report, go to