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There are many different types of poetry magazines and many different ways to categorize these magazines as well. Many people think of these magazines in terms of the rates they pay, as this can be used as an indicator of the caliber of professionals who publish in a given magazine. Other categories of differences include those of genre, style, and language, as many magazines publish only certain types of poetry. Magazines also often publish the work of poets from only certain areas or associations, either to narrow the focus of the magazine or for practical reasons. Finally, poetry magazines can exist in a number of different forms, and there are major differences between print and online publications.
The first criterion often used to categorize poetry magazines is pay rate. Precisely what rate is determined professional varies by area, but professional rates are usually differentiated from amateur rates of various levels. While this type of categorization is only a rough approximation of the prestige of the magazine, it is true that more prestigious or selective magazines with more rarefied contributors often pay better than smaller amateur magazines, although in some genres this is not true.
Elements of the poetry included in the magazine can also be used to break poetry magazines into categories. Many publications focus only on a specific type of poetry, such as science fiction poetry or romance poetry. While relatively rare, there are also magazines that include only poems of a specific form, like sonnets or haiku. Language can also be used to categorize these magazines, as this type of publication is usually entirely in a single language. There are, however, many magazines that will run poems in foreign languages with translations no matter the original language.
Certain magazines publish only the works of writers in a given area, such as a country or a geographic region. School magazines usually publish only the poetry of people associated with the school, but some allow open submissions as well. Poetry magazines may also collect poems from other sources as reprints.
One of the major differences among poetry magazines is between print and online publications. Having online magazines allows a larger number of people to be involved in poetry and opens up the possibility of creating magazines for a small number of consumers without financial loss. In some subcultures, online magazines can be quite prestigious. Small, local print and national print magazines are also ways of presenting poetry, but the limitations of paper often make this type of publication more difficult to maintain.
@Cageybird- I also used to submit work to those smaller literary magazines, and I was fortunate enough to have most of my poetry published. Sadly, most of those poetry magazines have since ceased publication, often because the publisher couldn't afford to lose money year after year. Most poetry magazines are labors of love, not widely distributed to the general public.
I think the poetry magazines that have survived fund themselves through grants or for-profit poetry contests. If I participate at all in the poetry community these days, it's usually through online poetry magazines. Many of these sites have solid reputations in the literary world, and they don't have nearly as many overhead expenses as their print equivalents.
Years ago, I used to send batches of my poetry to various poetry magazines and literary journals listed in a large reference book called "Poets' Market". At that time there were very few online poetry magazines, so the listings in that book usually included poetry magazine submission information and the names of the publishers. Most of the literary magazines I submitted my work to were independent publications that mostly paid in contributors' copies.
The best poetry magazines at that time were mostly associated with universities and colleges. They had a very low acceptance rate, so many of us felt it was a badge of honor to be published in one of those journals.
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