Getting Poetry Published (1) Little Magazines

Been Musing (geddit?!) on how to get poetry published in magazines: large magazines, zines or little magazines.

Little magazines are poetry journals of small circulation or which were only printed for a few issues – a run of 2 years would be extraordinary.  Circulation numbers could be as small as 7 (a student writing group which grew to be a campus-wide mag) or up to 500.

Sounds not very impressive.  But when you look at the history of 20th century poetry, especially in America, they had significance wildly beyond the statistics.  This is because issues were shared around friends, the circulation was concentrated on the deeply interested, and copies would be available in bookshops (great placement).  Also, poets would ‘try out’ new poems in these small audiences, before printing them in a book – helpful for creating advance interest and the readers were getting to read poems like T S Eliot’s “The Wasteland” before it was in a book.

Can you tell that I went to a talk on this subject, yesterday?  I was hoping for a sparky sense of small magazines, and zines, and ideas to make them.  Disappointingly, it turned out to be an academic paper on literature, read out (although well) and with few illustrations.  However, it revolutionised my thinking on how important small, shortlived publications are to the production of new writing and art.  Why not produce one yourself?  (Step one was to get a rich benefactor who would provide funds as you can’t attract adverts for such small circulation).



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