It’s always been quite hard for poets to get their work taken on because poetry doesn’t on the whole have a huge market. For this reason poetry publishing in the UK has been publicly subsidised by the Arts Council for a number of years.
Most poetry lists are pretty small. They tend to be either
poetry imprints in large publishing houses, such as the Jonathan Cape
poetry list at Random House or the Picador list at Macmillan, long-established independents such as Faber, and a number of Arts Council funded publishers including larger houses such as Bloodaxe and Carcanet, smaller independent ones such as Flambard, Arc and Anvil, and pamphlet publishers such as Rack Press and Knives Forks and Spoons Press.
always have to be cautious about what they take on and there are good
reasons for this. Poetry is not usually given much space in bookshops
and in most of them it is difficult to find poetry sections that go much
beyond some bestselling backlist and a few new volumes. Publishers have
to work hard to launch new poets and they are therefore very selective
about who they take on.
The good news though is that there is a
lot you can do to kick-start your own career as a poet and to get your
work out there in front of the public. This has changed radically over
the years, with more and more readings, the proliferation of poetry
magazines, self-publishing and the web all offering opportunities.
Thanks to David at the Poetry Book Society for giving us permission to use the introductory text from the Poetry Book Society website. You can read the full article here.