What a Poetry Reviewer looks for

It seems to me that these pointers are as relevant to prose writers as to poets. If we’re going to go to the trouble of getting self-published, let’s make a good job of it.

Emma Lee's Blog

I recently came across a suggestion that self-published poetry books could be seen as lacking credibility or editorial rigour. That’s not my experience as a reviewer. It’s fair to say a self-published poet is more likely to make a negative comment about my review, but that’s usually because a self-published poet places more importance on reviews than they deserve.

What does a Poetry Reviewer look for?

  • Poet’s name – not because established poets get a more favourable reaction but because if I’ve seen the name before as someone getting regularly published in poetry magazines (regardless of how many poetry books they have or haven’t published), then the poems in the book are more likely to be of a good standard.
  • Publisher – not because of a bias towards certain publishers but just to see whether the book is self, vanity or traditionally published. At this stage it’s about production values…

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