Poetry Library news

Unsolicited Acquisitions | 06-May-16

There are no hard and fast rules as to what we collect at The Poetry Library but the following points tend to come up in conversations amongst the panel of librarians. Please bear in mind that any item accepted into the collection requires significant attention in terms of cataloguing and processing. Shelf space in the library's ever-growing collection is also a consideration. Ultimately we are looking for items that will be used by our readers and will continue to be requested in the future.

Has the poet shown a track record in publishing the poems elsewhere, especially in magazines and ezines? 
The Poetry Library has a collection of around 180 current poetry magazines. It is a clear sign that a poet is developing a readership if they have appeared in some of those magazines.

Does the book show awareness of contemporary approaches to writing? 
This might be in how it moves a poetic form forward or how the poet addresses an old theme in a new way. 

What does your title say about your book? 
Very often a title that uses well-worn symbolic imagery (perhaps derived from seasons or flowers and describing emotional states) will not be accepted. We recommend that you read Ezra Pound's 'A Few Don'ts By An Imagiste' for some good advice in this area.

Is your book for you or for other readers? 
This is an important distinction. Poetry is an excellent way to overcome emotional difficulties and to celebrate life occasions, but very often these intense emotional experiences mean more to the individual and their family than to a wider readership.

How much have you read? 
The Poetry Library collects  3000+ items each year. Bearing this in mind, we recommend that before publishing a book you read 100+ contemporary poetry collections. Develop an awareness of poetry generally but make sure you read plenty of work which has been written and published in the last ten years. This is the only way to be sure that you're not covering already well-trodden ground. All poets spark off and inspire each other, sharing forms and themes, but no committed poet wants to sound/read like a copy of another.

How is the book designed? 
There is a long history of self publishing in the poetry world - check out work from Writer's Forum for a good example of this.  More recently, companies like Lulu and CreateSpace have been offering a self publishing platform to new and developing writers. Design, typography and formatting all play a part in how an item is received by its readership. The Poetry Library would never turn down an item if the panel felt that library users would be interested in the poetry, nevertheless how an item looks may be a clinching factor if the panel is waivering. This is another reason we recommend that those new to publishing familiarise themselves with what is currently being published in the poetry world.
The Poetry Library is a great way to explore and experience contemporary poetry and by joining you can loan new collections from our eloans service anywhere in the UK - you just need to come to the library in person once.
Please be aware that these are guidelines and each item is considered on a case by case basis. The decision of the panel is final and items will not be reconsidered, although future items can be sent for consideration.

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