Some excellent advice for new poets here, from Claire Askew, in the Scottish Poetry book trust post here.
1. Write lots of poems – Claire chose 41 poems to put in a book from an original pile of 150 poems. That improves the quality of the chosen ones. Also, when submitting to a journal, and waiting to hear back, you can’t send those same poems somewhere else so…. you need a lot of poems ready to send.
2. Best piece of writing advice she was given – “You can only have a first book, once”. There are literary prizes for a first poetry collection – so you want to wait until you’ve got a really strong first book put together. Don’t rush into publishing too early! Some famous writers have spent their lives trying to buy up all copies of their first book, to destroy because the style is so unlike their true voice (Norman MacCaig did this).
3. Get into the poetry community. Claire got early opportunities because she met people in a writing group or someone heard her performing her poetry. Join a good workshop group, go to open mic nights and perform, and hear about other opportunities through getting to know other writers.
Here’s one of Claire’s poems, set to video (the first 41 seconds are scenesetting, unsettling experiemental noises – you can skip ahead to the poem if you prefer).