10 Steps to Taking Your Poetry Professional


1.   Join a poetry workshop.
I used to think it was impossible to edit a poem.  However, since joining a workshop early this year, my poetry has definitely improved. Yours will too! There is so much more to editing poems than I realized.  It helps to have objective eyes on your words to see if what you intended is coming across the way you intended.

2.   Join your local poetry society.
Many local poetry societies offer meetings, workshops and contests for members.  You will also get to know the serious poets in your community.

3.   Join your state poetry society.
Many state poetry societies also offer good workshops and contests.  Again, this gives you another chance to learn from other poets.

4.   Also, join the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS).
You have to be a member of a local poetry society that is a member of NFSPS to join but they offer a yearly contest that you might enjoy entering.

5.  Consider joining the Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Society of America. 
      At the very least, check their websites for the resources available.

6.  I also recommend The Poetry Society of the UK. 
Europe seems to have better poetry resources and higher contest rewards than the USA.  The Poetry Society also offers a Poetry Prescription where you can have a poet comment on your poem.  They have one of the best journals out there.

7.  Enter contests put on by all of these groups.
After you have workshopped your poems, start entering those poems in contests.
8.  Take classes offered through these groups also.
Many of the groups I have recommended joining also offer workshops, skills class and poetry readings.  Take advantage of whatever is offered and/or host some of these yourself.

9.  Buy poetry journals and determine where your poetry fits.
This should be one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. I found it to be the most annoying.  It is one of the most expensive and miserable parts of becoming a professional poet.  I found many of the journals incestuous, incomprehensible and felt like I was wasting my money.  Go to the library, if you can, and review them there to save your money.  Only buy those you really like.  

10. Begin submitting poems to the journals you like.
Once you find a treasure, hang on to it and read their submission guidelines carefully.  Go to their website and download the latest information, including the editor or poetry editor’s names.  
You will find many of the resources I recommend linked on the left side and at the bottom of this blog.

You can also add your own suggestions in the comments below.


Maria Papadopoulou said...

All useful tips...thanks for taking the time to write them!

Brigid said...

Hi POP! This is a great list of resources for any poet. As the administrator of a poetry forum, which emphasizes peer interaction and supportive critique, may I suggest that #1 on your list be modified a bit to include the words "online" and "forum". There are a lot of good forums out there, but it's often hard to find a good fit. Many are places where people are only seeking praise and not interested in improving their writing. You usually have to shop around a bit but poetry forums (or workshops) can be awesome fun when you find the right one. I've learned more about poetry from the forums I've participated in than from any other source.

Your blog is great and I'm hoping to get enough time to check it out more thoroughly!

Poet on Poetry said...

Great point, Brigid! You can find workshops online!

Poet on Poetry said...

Thanks, Maria. Feel free to add suggestions you have!