22 Poetry Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts
There are dozens of English language poetry publishers. This list consists of publishers that do not require an agent, and which offer royalties, however modest. All of them publish book-length collections and/or chapbooks.
I have not included literary journals on this list. For poetry journals please see: Top 5 Resources for Publishing Poetry.
Arte Público Press, affiliated with the University of Houston, specializes in publishing contemporary novels, short stories, poetry, and drama based on U.S. Hispanic (Cuban American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and others) cultural issues and themes. How to submit: Arte Público uses an online submission form. See submission guidelines HERE.
Black Mountain Press: “Black Mountain Press is a literary press for outstanding emerging writers publishing several different genres of books annually. For the next three years from 2014 through the end of 2017 our focus will be in collections of poetry, memoir, novels and collections of short stories. Our editors are looking for the highest quality literary fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry that combines a distinct voice and vision.” Genres: Book-length literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. How to submit: Manuscripts accepted via regular mail only. Send one hard copy of your finished, book-length manuscript, along with a cover letter containing contact information, and relevant biographical information. Manuscripts should be typed on one side of the page only. Read full guidelines HERE.
Black Lawrence: “We seek innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go. We accept fee-free submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German and the French), and creative nonfiction.” How to submit: Reading periods are the month of June and the month of November. Online submissions only. Read complete guidelines HERE.
BlazeVOX [books] is an independent small press publisher located in Buffalo, New York. To date, BlazeVOX has published 280 books and over 1000 writers in their online journal and other publishing outlets. They are developing a book series that promotes the work of women who are courageous, innovative, definition-defying writers. Genres: Poetry, short stories, experimental fiction, literary criticism (including companions, studies and histories) by women authors. Submissions online. Read complete guidelines HERE.
BOA Editions: “Founded in 1976 by the late poet, editor, and translator A. Poulin, Jr., BOA has published more than 300 books of American poetry, poetry-in-translation, and short fiction. The first publication bearing the BOA imprint was The Fuhrer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress by W. D. Snodgrass. The Fuhrer Bunker received tremendous critical attention and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, optioned for the stage by Joseph Papp, and produced by Wynn Handman for The American Place Theater.” How to submit: Reading period is July 1–31. Snail mail submissions only. Poets must have already published a full-length poetry book. Read full guidelines HERE.
Carcanet Press is a British publishing house specializing in poetry. “Now in its fifth decade, Carcanet publishes the most comprehensive and diverse list available of modern and classic poetry in English and in translation.” How to submit: Carcanet considers submissions and book proposals submitted in hard copy form only. Writers should send between six and ten pages of poetry and a stamped and self-addressed return envelope. Response time within eight weeks. Read full guidelines HERE.
City Lights Publishers has launched several famous poets, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. City Lights publishes 12 books a year. How to submit: City Lights accepts book proposals by snail mail only. Response time six months. Read their submission guidelines HERE.
Coach House publishes innovative poetry, literary fiction, drama and select nonfiction by Canadian authors only. How to submit: For poetry submissions, please send your complete manuscript, along with an introductory letter that describes your work and compares it to at least two current Coach House titles, explaining how your book would fit our list, and a literary CV listing your previous publications and relevant experience. Electronic submissions are preferred. Read their submission guidelines HERE.
Faber & Faber is one of the last of the great independent publishing houses in London. They have published books by no fewer than twelve Nobel Laureates and six Booker Prize winners. Among its luminaries are T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Jean Cocteau. How to submit: Send six examples of your work to the poetry department by regular post. Email submissions are not accepted. Read their submission guidelines HERE.
Four Way Books publishes 14–15 collections of poetry and short fiction a year by emerging and established writers. They also sponsor contests (fee required). Restrictions: A book-length collection of poetry in English by a New York City resident (5 boroughs) for a first or second collection of poems. How to submit: Submission period is November 15 — December 15, 2015. Email your manuscript in one word or PDF file and include all contact information. The book should not be less than 45 pages of text. Note: This publisher also runs contests, which require a fee. It is not entirely clear from the website whether the fee-free reading period is for a contest or for regular publication. Read full guidelines HERE.
Futurepoem books is a New York City-based publishing collaborative dedicated to presenting innovative works of contemporary poetry and prose by both emerging and important underrepresented writers. How to submit: Futurepoem has an open reading period in December of each year. Submissions are usually from 50–200 pages. Read full guidelines HERE.
Kaya Press is a publisher of Asian and Pacific Islander diasporic writers in the United States. Their diverse list of titles includes experimental poetry, noir fiction, film memoir, avant-garde art, performance pieces, and “lost” novels. How to submit: Send your manuscript in electronic format. Files must be sent in a Word document or as a PDF. They will only accept works related to the Asian diaspora. Read full guidelines HERE.
Manic D Press is an American literary press based in San Francisco, California publishing fiction novels and short stories, poetry, and graphic novels. It was founded by Jennifer Joseph in 1984 as an alternative outlet for young writers seeking to bring their work into print. Manic D Press books are distributed throughout the US by Consortium, Last Gasp, and wholesalers including Ingram and Baker & Taylor; in the UK and EU by Turnaround PSL; in Canada by Publishers Group Canada; and throughout the world by Perseus. How to submit: Email submissions are preferred. Printed manuscripts are read twice a year, during the months of January and July ONLY. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, just let them know if your work has been accepted elsewhere or if (and where) it has been previously published. Read full guidelines HERE.
Mansfield Press publishes exciting, challenging and adventurous poetry, fiction and literary non-fiction by Canadian writers at all stages of their careers. How to submit: For poetry, send the full manuscript. In your cover letter, please indicate why you believe your book belongs with Mansfield Press — reference other Mansfield titles in your explanation. Note: They expect writers to help with promotion. Read full guidelines HERE.
Mid-List Press publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books by new and emerging writers and by writers ignored, marginalized, or excluded from publication by commercial publishers. Mid-List is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit literary organization. How to submit: Query first by regular mail with a few representative poems. They do not accept emailed or faxed queries. Read full guidelines HERE.
Milkweed Editions is a nonprofit literary press, publishing between fifteen and twenty books each year. They have published nearly three hundred titles. “Our mission is to identify, nurture and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it.” Milkweed publishes fiction, literary nonfiction (not academic), middle grade and YA novels, poetry collections by single authors (60+ pages). How to submit: Milkweed is currently closed for submissions, but they plan on opening submissions once they have responded to all submissions from their last reading period. Check HERE for updates and submission guidelines.
New Rivers Press is one of a handful of teaching presses in the United States. “Our mission is to publish and promote enduring contemporary literature, especially by new, emerging, and established writers.” How to submit: General book-length submissions are read in May. Read full guidelines HERE.
Plan B Press is a small independent publishing company that produces high-quality, limited-run poetry chapbooks. They are in the process of becoming a nonprofit. How to submit: Plan B accepts manuscripts from authors who have published fewer than three books (including chapbooks). They read from June 1st to November 30th of each year. Please do NOT send manuscripts from January through April due to submission confusion with the chapbook contest. Read full guidelines HERE.
Red Hen Press is an independent, non-profit press that publishes about twenty books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry every year. “We’re looking for novels, memoir, creative nonfiction, hybrid works, and story, essay, and poetry collections of exceptional literary merit that demonstrate a high level of mastery.” How to submit: Submissions can be made via snail mail or online through submittable ($3 charge). Read full guidelines HERE.
Salmon Poetry was established in 1981 as an alternative voice in Irish literature. It has since broadened its scope to include poets from other cultures. How to submit: Email your query, with a short biographical note and 5–10 poems, to email@example.com Read full guidelines HERE.
Seven Stories Press publishes prose and poetry about politics, human rights, and social and economic justice. It also publishes translations from the French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Italian, Greek, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and Arabic. How to submit: There are no guidelines for poetry submissions on the website. Go to the contact page for information.
Wake Forest University Press publishes Irish poetry only. They do not accept manuscripts from American poets, including Irish-American poets. Submissions: “If you are a native of Ireland and wish to submit a poetry manuscript, please email a representative sampling of your poetry and your biographical information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may mail a hard copy of your work, biographical and contact information to Wake Forest University Press, PO Box 7333, Winston-Salem, NC 27109. Should you want the return of your submission, please include a self-addressed envelope with adequate postage. We consider manuscripts from September through mid-May, and the average turnaround time is three months.” Read guidelines here. (Note: They are currently closed while they go through their backlog.)
Note: You can find a full list of 150 publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers here: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts
Erica Verrillo has published five books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on how to get an agent, lists agents who are looking for clients as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers, explains how to market and promote your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews, how to self-publish, and where to find markets for your work on Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity.