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  • Writer's pictureWriting Voices

How to get your poetry published

Your submissions are our lifeblood here at Writing Voices – we exist to give a voice to writers, and to provide a platform for great writers that would otherwise fly under the radar.

As Poetry Editor, I see some fantastic work; everything that arrives has merit, but not all of it arrives in a publishable state. We can do some editing, but when it comes to poetry, to tinker too much can be dangerous. Something as seemingly trivial as a line break or a piece of punctuation can change the whole meaning and tone of a poem, and that’s not my place or intention.

Poems that have the best chance of publication will:

  • Be structured with intent, in a way that serves the meaning of the poem and is consistent – for example if a poem starts out with a regular rhythm, or a specific rhyme scheme, then that should follow throughout, unless it’s intentionally broken in a way that adds to the meaning of the poem.

  • Avoid cliché.

  • Avoid forced rhyme.

  • Contain surprising and original imagery – play around with simile and metaphor, for example. We all know that a father can be as strong as a tree, but what if a tree was as inconsistent as a father?

  • Use poetry to write about surprising subjects. Poetry is a well-used form for writing about love, relationships, the natural world… but what about some science fiction poetry? Or using poetry to explore the mysteries of mathematics, politics or music?

  • Be carefully proof-read.

  • Be playful.

  • Be crafted. Writing poetry can be hugely cathartic, and it can be so satisfying to splurge words onto the page. If you want your poetry to resonate with others, though, then take the time to craft your words and make the feelings that you wish to share as clear as possible. That initial word-splurge is the clay on the sculptor’s bench, waiting to be sculpted.

Do you have a piece you're proud of? Well, we'd love to see it! We're currently running open submissions and we also put out calls for themed submissions throughout the year. Check out our Submissions page for more information.

Alternatively, do you want us to let you know when we're looking for for pieces to publish? Hop on our mailing list and we'll give you a shout when publication opportunities come up!


Poetry Editor Nic Benson has been immersed in books and literature all her life. Over the past twenty five years she has worked as an English teacher, a bookseller and a school librarian; has run writing and reading groups; completed various residential and university-based writing courses, and recently gained a Masters in Creative Writing at York St. John University. Find out more.

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Imagery by engin akyurt and Laura Chouette via Unsplash


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