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The Poetry Magazine

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Poetic Licence

Ben Simmons

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I’m very excited to be taking over the Poetic Licence blog from Kate Dempsey. I endeavour to maintain Kate’s broad perspective on all poetry related subjects. I hope to use this blog as a place to promote new publications, opportunities and events that pique your interest. If you have suggestions or ideas please get in touch. 

The subject of my first post is the poetry magazine.* For readers, print and online poetry magazines provide the opportunity to engage with new work from a broad selection of poets writing today. For writers, the poetry magazine is very often the first destination of new work that has survived the drafting process and has come out the other side as a finished poem (whether a poem can be finished is a subject for another day). Publication in a magazine is, for many, an essential stepping stone toward a poetry collection.

I first began to consistently read poetry magazines in the library when I was completing my undergraduate degree. Following the advice of a set of submission guidelines, I was informed that reading a publication may be an essential step in finding an appropriate home for my sheaf of poems. I confess I was only somewhat successful, but the benefits extended further than finding a home for my early poetry. The real benefit was my exposure to new writing and new writers. Reading magazines from across the English speaking world gave me access to a perspective on poetry outside the classroom syllabus and the well worn selection from my Leaving Certificate.

If you’re considering spending some of your own hard earned money on an annual subscription there are a dizzying array of options. Some prominent publications on the Island are: 

For those that I have not mentioned I beg your forgiveness

A subscription to any one of these is a great way to to be inspired by a selection of new writing, interviews, reviews and artwork. My recommended alternative is to visit your local library.  Libraries across the country are subscribed to a variety of  literary publications and the option is alway there to become a member and request that they take out a subscription.

More than just a place to read new work, poetry and literary magazines are also great indicators of a healthy writing community. If you live in the vicinity of a poetry publication, there are issue launches, readings by contributors and other events that I hope we will return to in person safely in the near future. The hours spent designing, editing and corresponding to submission is no small effort to bring these publications into the world. More than a single author, these collaborative efforts are the engines for new creations. 

* For the purpose of this blog post I am using the term poetry magazine to include all arts/cultural magazines where poetry is a consistent feature of its contents.


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