An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
Sentient Publications
1113 Spruce St
CO 80302
ISBN 1 59181 002 7

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This page last updated: 11th December 2007.

This is subtitled The Complete Guide To Getting Your Poetry Published. The book is full of excellent advice. It emphasises the need for poets who seek publication to find their marketing niche, to be known as a reader as well as a writer and to build up a track record.

He warns poets about the beginner's mistakes that they should avoid such as

Do not include a note telling how much your family and friends think of your talent and how they encouraged you to send these poems in.
How many times have I read such a note and been dismayed by the quality of the work they accompanied?

Williams goes a step beyond just advising the poet. Chapter 8 is HOW TO START AND PUBLISH YOUR OWN POETRY SERIES.

Once you've brought out your own book and learned the basics of publishing and selling poetry, you can easily extend your activities to include publishing the work of other good poets.
Oh yes it is easy to get bitten by the publishing bug. Williams has a lot of sound advice including how to avoid some of the pitfalls. Whilst I wouldn't agree totally with all his marketing suggestions, the general tenure of his thrust is absolutely sound. Writer and publisher need to support each other. Most sales of poetry come not from bookshops but from personal appearances. The writer who performs is the one in the best position to make sales.

Speaking about the internet, Williams writes

Serious writers use the internet as a more and more indispensable medium for the exchange of information and ideas, but not for publication of their work. When such writers do post their work it is usually as a participant in a critique group or workshop.
I'd largely agree, but he draws a distinction between webzines and ezines which seems to me to be either erroneous or outdated. True it is that there some very dire websites, but there are some dire print zines too. There are actually some really fine web periodicals and they shouldn't be totally dismissed. I was recently asked why we didn't review ezines and the answer is not that we don't think there are any worth reviewing, but that we've got enough on doing what we are doing.

The book includes a very useful glossary of printing and publishing terms.

I'd recommend this book to all beginning poets as a solid and comprehensive account of the needs of publishers that poets ignore at their peril. It is also useful as a guide to the most effective ways of selling poetry.

reviewer: Gerald England.