Pick up any writer’s guidelines and they’ll either say “we do not want poetry” or they’ll tell you to how many to submit at once, if the poems must be traditional rhymed verse or not, and how long a wait you can expect until you’ll hear from them. There are hundreds of magazines that use freelance poetry. 

If you love to write poetry, consider selling some to magazines, especially on-line publications. It’s low-stress and can help you survive while you’re writing.  It’s also good to write while you’re learning about complicated structures and rhyme schemes. There are several beautiful forms of sonnet, for example.  It’s also fun to read about the history of your favorite kind of poetry and see where that study leads you.

I’d suggest trying your hand at some different formats that you haven’t used before to keep your mind occupied while doing the selling, though.  It always helps to keep reading poetry while you’re writing, too. You’ll continue to learn while you read poems, too. For example, Allen Ginsburg wrote about ‘strophes’ in such a bizarre way that I started studying them!  It was very interesting that I kept studying the different kinds of forms and important terms. describes different kinds things you can do when you write poetry. My lit teachers called these ‘literary devices.’  Just follow the above link.  JASTOR has a new program, too, for people involved in self-education. Be sure to check with your public library, even if you’re in a different part of the country or world. They’ll have on-line resources.

I especially like poems written In the 40’s to 70’s, when technology was inevitable in all our lives. Poets saw the next big waves of change as they approached us.  What periods do you love?  It’s also interesting to look at the visual arts and history in your favorite periods, then  read the poetry.  You can check with your library, by the way, about finding any poem, even if you can remember just a line or two.  I walked around with one line of a poem for years. Last month I wrote my library back in Boulder and they told me exactly what it was (a poem by Robert Bly).


The photo is from Dalian, the last place I taught.  This student’s name is John, and he gave me lots of time. I learned plenty about how Chinese kids are educated. How’d you like to start middle school when you’re 10 and sleep and eat at this school until you’re 19? It’s very interesting. A small school has 5,000 kids. (At least I think it’s interesting!)

Enjoy!  Keep in touch.  I’m slaving away on my China book, and sewing.  What are you up to?

Best from Chiang Mai, Mary Ann 

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