Friday, 1 August 2008

Choosing Poetry Magazines

Another item for discussion - how do you decide which poetry magazines to subscribe to?

Initially it's a case of: have I heard of it and can I read it? Often I start subscribing because a friend recommends one / shows me a copy. Word of mouth seems very important in the small press world. Occasionally I've reviewed one that I liked and took out a subscription.

Secondly (and no reflection on my age!) is the font size, line spacing and typeface. The font size in some is too small, especially when you consider a lot of subscribers are older.... Some of the most prestigious magazines are inspiring - if only I didn't have to put them down (regrettable phrase!) after a couple of pages. I know - it's that dilemma between quantity and space.... but better to be able to read all of it than struggle. When I arrive home to find PURPLE PATCH behind the door - I always read the gossip column first and then have to have a rest! I'm glad that FIRE, full of innovative poetry, has recently changed its typeface - much easier to read. Thanks.

Over to you. There's loads more to discuss on this topic - so go ahead and add a comment. How do you decide which magazines to buy?


Susan Richardson said...

I often spend an afternoon at the Poetry Library in London, reading the latest copies of poetry journals, starting with my favourites, then inevitably discovering a new one that I want to subscribe to! I dip into their online archive of past copies quite a lot too.

Crafty Green Poet said...

if a magazine accepts some of my poetry I'll usually subscribe for at least a year. Then additional to that I go with the ones that have the greatest number of readable poems in them. Font size etc does come into it, but I can be attracted to both the very prfessional looking and also to the quirky

Coastcard said...

It's always good when you get a free copy if your poem is featured. This doesn't always happen these days.

I also like the idea of being able to subscribe in a flexible way: Ronnie (of Reach Poetry) encourages his readers to subscribe by the issue rather than by the year. You can of course pay up front for 12 issues; but equally, you can pay for just a couple.

Some editors go to great lengths to ensure that typos are kept to a minimum. I have great respect for these editors!

I enjoy the occasional 'feature' in among the poems e.g. the short articles in Acumen.

I like the short bios you get in e.g. The Rialto and Poetry Review.

I also enjoy reading poems on a page surrounded by white space. This is a tricky one in these days of being careful with paper, but often the space is an essential part of the poem.

As for the debate as to whether we should begin to embrace e-journals more than paper ones (on environmental grounds) ... but perhaps I digress a wee bit?

Mistlethrush said...

Sue - spending afternoon's in the poetry library sounds delightful. Tell me, what's the building / room like?

Crafty Green - I know what mean. My conscience makes me feel like I should support editors who support me. And by the way, I think BOLTS OF SILK is a fab name.

Coastcard - digress all you want! I have to admit that I find a physical magazine far more satisfying. I recall attending an evening event during which CH-E (Salt) said 'writers have to whore themselves on the Internet' to get known (not in Biblical sense, I hope....) Anyway, that's why I joined Facebook. It's also how I got FTFB published - I submitted to Sam's Select Six site and he asked if I had any more..... of course I said YES!
So, despite initial reservations, I have to agree it works. I mean, if wasn't for Facebook, I wouldn't now be typing this to the three of you.

Susan Richardson said...

The Poetry Library's on the 6th (I think) floor of the Royal Festival Hall. It's got a reference section and a borrowing section (though only people with a London address can borrow, I think). It contains thousands of poetry collection, plus all the latest issues of poetry journals - a fantastic resource. It's a cosy space - my only gripe is that it's a bit short on windows!

Mistlethrush said...

No windows? That wouldn't be good for my claustrophobia. A very justifiable gripe if you ask me.

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