The Poetry World A-Z

Poets, save this post! It just may be the most incredible, informational, controversial, and blah-blah-blah poetry-related post you ever read! Ever!!!!

After saving the post, be sure to share it with everyone–whether they like poetry or not. Because this post is about uncover the wide world of poetry by using the…wait for it…alphabet! Spectacular, I know, and yes, I’m being silly right now.

But let’s get serious for a moment: When I first started writing poetry, I knew nothing about the world I was entering. I didn’t know the big players, the little players, any players. So one of the things I try to accomplish with this blog is to at least connect people and ideas. While I know this list is not comprehensive and more than a little U.S.-centric, I think it’s a good starting point for poets who want to know more about what’s happening.

This list includes poets, events, publishers, and more. Any and all omissions were either made intentionally (because I’m a snob) or more likely through pure ignorance (because I don’t know everything–that’s why blog posts have comments). If you see any glaring omissions, please don’t keep it all to yourself; share in the comments below.

The Poetry World A-E

A is for AWP (or Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference, an annual event that drew 13,000+ writers and readers in 2014. It’s also for AIPF (Austin International Poetry Festival–or largest non-juried international poetry festival in the world), Academy of American Poets, Amazon (yes, the online retailer), and Ashbery, John.

B is for BAP (or Best American Poetry) anthology, which always sparks a debate over whether poets should be recognized by a small group of writers and readers or be completely ignored by everyone (in case you’re wondering, my vote is for BAP). B is also for Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop (the only all-poetry bookstore in NYC), Bowery Poetry Club (also in NYC), Broadsided Press (putting lit & art on the streets), Boston Review (great sounding board for poets and poetry), and Bly, Robert.

C is for Collins, Billy, the poet so many readers love and so many poets wish they could be, though many wouldn’t admit it. While Cookie Monster might claim C is for cookie (and it is!), C is also for Coldfront (a great poetry-related website), Cowboy Poetry, and Copper Canyon Press.

D is for Dodge Poetry Festival, which has drawn more than 150,000 folks to its 14 total events–all for poetry! D is also for Decatur Book Festival (the ginormous book festival outside Atlanta, GA) and poets Dove, Rita, and Doty, Mark.

E is for Ecco (the HarperCollins imprint that publishes poetry). It’s also for Elegy Owed, by Bob Hicok. Okay, okay; E was a lean letter for me and this list.

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The Poetry World F-K

F is for Finishing Line Press, the chapbook publisher who every poet seems to have published a chapbook with (except me–cue Charlie Brown music). F is also for Favorite Poem Project, FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Flarf, and Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. And just to rile people up: Franco, James.

G is for Genius Grants, those beautiful $625,000 over the course of 5 years grants awarded to poets and other geniuses. It’s also for Graywolf Press (the publisher of James Franco and other poets) and Gluck, Louise.

H is for Haiku Society of America, because the haiku contingent is fierce and motivated. Beyond those tiny gems, H is also for Hayes, Terrance, Hass, Robert, Hall, Donald, and Hejinian, Lyn–an “H-bomb” of poets (haha, why am I the only one laughing at that bad joke?). One more “H-bomb”: Hickory, as in Hickory, North Carolina, site of the monthly Poetry Hickory event hosted by Scott Owens.

I is for Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe, a poetry-only bookstore in Boulder, Colorado.

J is for Alice James Books (there’s a “J” in there somewhere, right?)–publishing poetry since 1973.

K is for Kooser, Ted (former Poet Laureate), and Keillor, Garrison, who supports poetry in his own little (big) ways.

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The Poetry World L-P

L is for Linebreak, the online poetry journal. Two more big names Levine, Philip, and Lehman, David (series editor of BAP).

M is for Motionpoems, which puts poetry into motion with animation. M is also for Merwin, W.S., McClatchy, J.D., and McHugh, Heather. I guess MFAs would fit under here too, though I’m not going to single out any particular programs. And one more: Menendez, Didi, who is involved in so many poetic pursuits that I’m not quite sure how to link her name–so I’ll go with MiPOesias.

N is for New Directions, which is one of the most important poetry presses out there. But N is a big letter in the world of poetry that includes National Endowment for the Arts, National Book Award, Nobel Prize in Literature (a poet doesn’t always win, but it’s cool when it happens), National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Norton, and even the New Yorker.

O is for Open Books, one more poetry-only bookstore (based in Seattle) that sells books by big-time poets Olds, Sharon, and Oliver, Mary–maybe the two most popular poets in the country. O is also for Outlaw Poets.

P is for Poet’s Market, which is like this list–only so much more involved. Actually, P has so much to offer that it could be a list all its own, so I went with the book that I personally edit to kick things off. P is also for The Poetry Foundation (and Poetry magazine), Poetry Society of America, Pulitzer, Poets & Writers, Pushcart Prize, The Paris Review, Pedestal, and Pinsky, Robert.

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The Poetry World Q-Z

Q is for Queyras, Sina, aka Lemon Hound.

R is for Rattle, which is one of the top poetry-only publications today. R is also for Red Hen Press, Ryan, Kay, and “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood, which is not the only poem to ever go viral, but an important one nonetheless.

S is for Silliman’s blog, which is run by Ron Silliman; it’s a daily must visit. S can also be for Simic, Charles, Strand, Mark, Smith, William Jay, and a whole gang of Slam Poets.

T is for Trethewey, Natasha, former Poet Laureate and author of Native Guard and Thrall.

U is for University of Pittsburgh Press, which is one of the top poetry presses around, publishing books by the likes of Bob Hicok, Denise Duhamel, Dean Young, and more.

V is for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, which has helped open up a dialogue about the place of women in the literary arts. V also stands for Verse Daily, “Vowels,” by Christian Bok, and Valentine, Jean.

W is forWhat Teachers Make,” by Taylor Mali (just click the link and watch if you haven’t before). It’s also for Writer’s Digest (which hosts this blog), Wright, Charles, and Wilbur, Richard.

X is for X.J. Kennedy. I know, I know; this totally breaks the alphabetical rules I’ve established up to this point (he should be under “K,” you may say), but what the hey; since when do poets NOT bend the rules?!? Also, there’s Frank X Walker (thanks, Tom C. Hunley!).

Y is for Young–both Dean Young and Kevin Young.

Z is for Zapruder, Matthew. And so ends the greatest A-Z post ever!

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roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He does not claim to know everything about poetry. In fact, I’m sure if you stick around and read the comments, you’ll find that he’s omitted quite a bit. But his ignorance aside, Robert does love poetry, the whole poetry season, which never ends for him. He loves discovering new (to him) poets, poetic forms, poems, books, and so on–and then, sharing all that on this blog!

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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9 thoughts on “The Poetry World A-Z

  1. JanelleFila

    Unfortunately, most fiction writers tend to shy away from poetry. If there’s no money in writing, there’s even LESS money in poetry! I’m a YA Contemporary author, yet my two most recent contest wins have both been poems (one published online for a YA magazine and another to come out Nov 2014 in a military anthology). Poetry is a great way to express yourself and strengthen your imagery. And with your list, maybe even strengthen your bottom line! Thanks so much for this comprehensive list! Janelle http://www.janellefila.com

    1. Shennon

      Congratulations on the poetry contest wins! I, too, am a fiction writer(YA/NA paranormal and science fiction). I also have been dedicating more time to my poetry. While I would love to make money at writing, I write for the enjoyment, the satisfaction, and the challenge. The last award I won for anything I wrote was a blue ribbon at the Nebraska State fair for a poem about our capitol building when I was in grade school. I completely agree with your statement about using poetry for self expression. Good luck in your future endeavors!

      –ShennonDoah

  2. Bruce Niedt

    Great list, Robert! Thanks for including the Dodge Festival and Finishing Line Press (the first of which I suggested and the second of which I should have). H is also for Hirshfield, Jane, whom I’ve mentioned several times around here because she’s my biggest poet’s crush.

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