Once you’ve published a book of poetry, or helped others self-publish theirs, you get a lot of questions about how it’s done. Usually, I am asked by writers in South Africa how they can publish a poetry collection. Here’s the simplest answer I have, and about the most comprehensive too.
I have gathered the details of a few South African poetry magazines for reference. Please let me know if you spot information here that is out of date. This list is quite old.
‘Whether describing the wonder and fright of a crab giving birth, a visit to the dentist, or an estuary full of bodies and shimmering birds, Arthur Attwell shows how the ghosts of our childhood, relationships, and the course of history continue to find and startle us.’
“Here is a first collection which, combining the elegance and precision of an American master like Richard Wilbur, has an enviable capacity to contain very large matters in discrete forms.” Stephen Watson
Having had my own book of poetry published, I’m often thought to be party to the secret handshake of publishers everywhere. When people ask me how they can get theirs published, I tell them it’s a tough road, full of complex choices and lucky turns. Actually, it’s a simple process. The tough part is writing poetry good enough for publication. Once you’ve got that sorted, it’s useful to know how poetry publishing works. Read what I’ve said here, and also read the Centre for the Book’s advice on publishing poetry.
From time to time I meet someone who seems interested in poetry in principle, but doesn’t know where to start reading. Of course in most cases they’re just feigning interest, because they want to please me or are playing me like a Singing Teapot. Nonetheless, it has helped me think about what I’d recommend, and why.