1.) Read Your Poem As Objectively As Possible: Many of us, myself included, have sent out poems that would not be understood by an outsider reading it. Therefore, make sure your poem can stand alone without explanation unless it is experimental language that fits the journal you are submitting to. Otherwise if you have to explain what it’s about either re-write it or send something else along.
2) Formatting submissions
a) E-mail: Most e-mail submissions should include the subject line “Poetry Submission/Your Last Name” unless otherwise specified. In the body of the e-mail you should address the editor, even if it is simply “Dear Editor,” and thank them for their time in reading your submission. Include your contact information such as full name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
If you read the guidelines some editors require you attach your poems as a separate document and others prefer you copy and paste your poems inside the body of the e-mail.
If the guidelines ask for a bio but do not specify what the bio should contain simply address yourself third person by giving your name, where you are from and any publishing credits you have (name up to three, any more than that and it gets too lengthy for a bio). You can include a personal detail about yourself such as what you enjoy doing besides writing poetry or what you do for a living.
b) Snail Mail: Most editors want a standard A10 envelope. This is basically a standard plain white envelope in which you can easily fold your poem into thirds and tuck it inside. *Always include a self-addressed stamped return envelope.* You can fold up the S.A.S.E. and tuck it in with your poems so the editors can easily mail back your submission.
If the guidelines do not specify how to format your poems, use 8.5 x 11 regular plain white paper, size 12 and regular font such as Arial or Times New Roman.
Also include your contact information on each and every page for each poem submitted. Your basic contact information is your full name, address, phone number, and e-mail address.
Make sure each poem is on its own sheet of paper or if it flows to additional pages that you number them to make it easy for the editor to keep the poems together and sorted properly.
If the guidelines ask for a bio it’s the same as what is described above for e-mail submissions.
For those of you relatively new to submitting poems I hope this helps you and for seasoned veterans any additional input is welcome in the comments section.
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