How To Get Poetry Published

I've written a couple posts in the past about getting poetry published because it's a question that I keep getting asked. I was only half joking when I suggested that the easiest way to get poetry published was to hide a poem in a trade book about something else. Out of sheer laziness, I figured that I'd just post a real example of that today, the "Poem" is titled "Fleeing Footnotes" and it was published in "The Hand-Me-Down PC" in 1997 by McGraw-Hill.

Fleeing Footnotes

More for less, more bits, more megs
A higher nomenclature yet
Although performance, you may bet
Will wither in the face of code
That takes a CD-ROM to load

Groupware fashioned from the dregs
Of products fallen by the way
But dragged forth to the light of day
By starved wolves howling at the Gates
'Compete with Tools and Replicates'

Oh, noble hardware cruelly drowned
By layer upon layer piled
Of promises to the beguiled
Who wait amidst the growing pain
For signs of productivity gain

Then let the trumpets blare their sound
And brave consultants to the breach
Who to the flock, do teach and preach
The gospel of the current year
(Behind their backs they hide the shears)

And when at last the client begs
To know why groupware he has bought
And where's the imaging he sought
The experts disappear like rabbits
And leave him with his filing cabinets.

Lest you think this isn't a repeatable approach, I managed to work the following little poem into "Start Your Own Computer Business" published in 2002 by Foner Books.

The Insurance Game (or Workman's Comp)

Our business has been going poorly
So let this note inform you duly
We let go all our warehouse staff
Workman's comp's at fault, don't laugh
The secretary, techs, all lost
So please take note, adjust our cost
Our showroom's closed, we're in a tailspin
There's one guy left, and he's a salesman.

OK, you can call me a sell-out, I've given up on trying to write poetry for the intrinsic beauty of the language - certainly I have no sublime thoughts to offer the world. Still, there's a damn good reason you should consider this approach if you're writing poetry and struggling to make ends meet. You may just have what it takes to make a living as an trade author or as a self-publisher, so why not take a little vacation from writing poetry full-time and see if you have a commercial book in you. Just don't write a book about how to get poetry published unless you've had more success at it than me, and I can count well over 10,000 paid for books with my poems out there, not to mention the Chinese translation:-)

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