It’s time to fearlessly exploit the wisdom of others again. We’ve been waffling inconclusively to ourselves on this blog about the whys and wherefores of publication for quite a while now and are finally taking the discussion to those with more experience. We’ll be using a Ten Questions mechanism to seek responses to ten questions on publication-related issues from different poets and will publish them weekly. The full list of questions is below.

We ran a Ten Questions series on more general poetry questions last year, to which we still have recourse today (as do others, judging by the fact that it gets more hits than any other section on this blog).

Here’s to this series.

Ten Questions on Publication

1. Describe your publishing trajectory. (Where did it start? Where is it now? How long have you been at it?)

2. What would you do differently if you had to start all over again?

3. Why did you start seeking publication? Why do you continue?

4. Does your relationship with your work change after it is published and if so, how? How does the concept of publication affect your writing in general?

5. Talk about putting a chapbook together. How have you done it in the past, how would you do it differently now? Why are chapbooks a good thing or not a good thing?

6. What’s your advice to someone putting together a full-length poetry manuscript for the first time? Share your thoughts on the importance (or not) of narrative arc in poetry manuscripts.

7. Do you personally market your publications? If so, why and how, and do you enjoy it? If not, why not?

8. Complete the following sentences: Big-name poetry publishers are…..

9. Small- and micro-presses are…

10. Describe the ideal relationship with a publisher and the relationship with a publisher from hell.


1. Kristy Bowen, February 7, 2008
2. Reginald Shepherd, February 15, 2008
3. Carolyn Guinzio, February 21, 2008
4. Nate Pritts, February 28, 2008
5. Sam Byfield, March 6, 2008
6. Neil Aitken, March 13, 2008
7. Edward Byrne, March 27, 2008
8. Rachel Bunting, April 3, 2008
9. Brent Fisk, April 11, 2008
10. Ivy Alvarez, April 17, 2008
11. Michaela Gabriel, April 24, 2008
12. Reb Livingston, May 1, 2008

Answers posted by others to their own blogs:

Rik Roots
Rob Mackenzie
Steve Schroeder
Cheryl Snell
Kate Benedict

26 thoughts on “

  1. These are great questions and I wish I’d had the answers when I really got going in poetry five years ago – but I think it’s been great fun learning in the meantime! Very useful for the poet coming into their talent.

  2. I am interested in particular in the third question, this is my answer:
    Tommaso Gervasutti said…
    It’s very thought-provoking this series of questions, I’ll try to reflect about it in my blog and then try to answer the questions.
    My point is essentially that making the effort to find a publisher is preceded by the stamina that must come from feeling that writing keeps coming, wuthout this there is no spark making one face and walk on the hard path, full of rejections, that is submitting to a publisher.
    Even submitting to magazines is for me an act depending on how much I feel I can write in that moment.
    So the past work’s entering the world depends on a positive feeling about the present and the future work.
    Davide Trame

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