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Q: Poetry agents in New York ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Poetry agents in New York
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: marie1234-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 06 Oct 2003 21:23 PDT
Expires: 05 Nov 2003 20:23 PST
Question ID: 263332
I would like contact information for the three most successful
literary POETRY agents in New York City. Any references to articles
profiling these agents(cies) would be appreciated.

Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 08 Oct 2003 12:35 PDT
Hello marie1234-ga: 

Attempting to qualify the "three best agents in NYC" is nearly
impossible; it is far too subjective. Compounding that dilemma: there
are VERY few agents who represent poetry because the genre doesn't
sell well.

Also, are you adamant that these be NYC agents? There are many fine
agents across the nation, and since so few agents handle poetry, it
might be better if you cast your net a bit wider.

Would you be satisfied if a researcher gave you a list of successful,
reputable agents who handle poetry, including some agents who aren't
located in NYC?

Thanks for any clarification.


Clarification of Question by marie1234-ga on 08 Oct 2003 15:38 PDT
Yes, I would be satisfied with a list of successful, reputable agents
who handle poetry regardless of whether the agents are in NYC.

Request for Question Clarification by nancylynn-ga on 09 Oct 2003 12:21 PDT
Hello again marie1234-ga: 

Even fewer agents than I'd thought represent poetry. In fact, so far,
I've found only one agency that represents poets.

The good news is I've found quite a few small publishing houses that
accept submissions from un-agented poets. I've also found some books
you can purchase that list the best publishing resources for poets,
and some online forums where you can learn more about publishing
opportunities for poets.

Would that information be satisfactory to you?


Clarification of Question by marie1234-ga on 09 Oct 2003 16:12 PDT
Hi, nancylynn-ga!

Yes, that would be great! Thank you!
Subject: Re: Poetry agents in New York
Answered By: nancylynn-ga on 10 Oct 2003 09:10 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I found only one agent online who is actively seeking poets: 

From the Author Network:

Eddison Pearson Ltd.
"Handles literary fiction and non-fiction, contemporary fiction,
children's books, poetry for the literary market. Please enquire in
writing, enclosing s.a.e. Email enquiries also welcome. No unsolicited
mss. Clare Pearson, 3rd Floor, 22 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1X
9PB.Tel: 02076292414. Fax: 020 7629 7181. Email:"

Your best bet would be to approach niche publishing houses that
specialize in poetry.

Poet & Writer Magazine online has an alphabetized list of a whopping
152 small publishing houses that are open to submissions from
un-agented poets:
(Click on the names and that will bring up Web sites and contact info
each publishing house.)

Writer Matya Dio maintains this directory of publishers of poetry:
(Scroll to bottom of the page for the listing of clickable links,
including Avec Books and Chatoyant Press. The easiest way to navigate
the listings is to use "Find," under "Edit" in your browser, with the
search term "poetry.")

If you get a deal at one of these houses, you may then want to hire an
attorney who specializes in publishing law (aka communications, media
law, intellectual property law), to ensure that your contract is fair.

Go to the directory "FindLaw":
Under "Browse By Practice," click "More Practice Areas" to bring up
the next page where you'll see a link for "Intellectual Property Law."
Click on that link to bring up:
which is a directory of lawyers whose practice areas include
publishing, listed by state. Just click on the state where you reside.

Here are some other resources:

The popular site "Literary Agents":
contains this very helpful FAQ:
"Question: Which agents will represent a first-book of poetry?
Answer: None. Most first books of poems are sold to small, independent
or university presses. You can find an excellent list of these presses
in a book called Poet's Market [I listed that book, below]. Some of
these presses accept submissions directly. Others require that you
enter a contest . . . . Take for example, Billy Collins, whose last
two books were published by Random House. His first book of poems was
published by the University of Arkansas Press. (He submitted it
himself.) His next three books were published by the University of
Pittsburgh Press, which has an extensive line in contemporary poetry.
Finally, in 2001, Random House published a New and Selected volume of
poems as well as a subsequent volume of all-new poems. This is the arc
of an ideal publishing career in poetry. Billy Collins didn't need an
agent until long after his first book of poems was published. "

Here are some advice books on getting your poetry published: "How to
Your Poetry: A Complete Guide to Finding the Right Publishers for Your
(Square One Writer's Guide)" by Helene Ciaravino (Square One
January 2003):

"2004 Poet's Market: 1,800 + Places to Publish Your Poetry (Poet's
2004)"; editors: Nancy Breen and Vanessa Lyman. (Writers Digest Books;
edition; August 2003):

If you get a publishing deal and an agent then offers to represent
you, before signing, you can check the agent's reputation at Preditors
& Editors:
(Btw, agencies named for their owners are generally listed by first
name. So, "John Doe Literary Agency" would be listed under "J.")

As a general rule, writers are discouraged from signing with agents
charge "reading" or "handling fees," or who tell you your work needs
to go
through an "editorial service"; such services usually charge high

Most reputable agents belong to the AAR, the Association of Authors
Representatives. Read the AAR's "Canon of Ethics" at:

Regarding contact information: e-mail only if the agency's or
publishing house's Web site encourages that practice; otherwise, use
regular mail.

Also, most agents and editors really hate it when writers call them!
want to know how well you write; not how good a conversationalist you
Mail your cover letter and poetry samples to the agent or publisher.
your work is well received, you'll get an e-mail or phone call in

DO feel free to call a publishing company and ask to whom you should
address your submission. Once you're given the contact name,
double-check the spelling of the name and the person's correct title.

It is standard practice to enclose a SASE for reply when sending
material to an agent or publisher. Send a manila SASE so that all
materials can be returned to you. Check the post office's site for
postage according to weight, so you put enough stamps on each SASE:

Please note: most writers -- in any genre -- wind up having to
approach far
more than three agents (or publishing houses) in order to achieve
Most agents report that they reject 99% of the query letters,
and proposals they receive. (That, according to The 2001-2002 Writer's
To Book Editors, Publishers, And Literary Agents (Roseville, CA: Prima
Publishing, 2000, author Jeff Herman), which contains interviews with
hundreds of agents (none of whom represent poetry). The same ratio
true for most publishers who accept un-agented material. 

Herman's book lists a few book publishers of poetry that I didn't find
at Poet & Writer. They are:

Black Sparrow Press:

City Lights Publishers: 

The W.W. Norton Company accepts submissions via e-mail at its "Norton
Poets Online" page:

David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc.:

According to Herman, Grove Press, a division of the Atlantic Monthly
Press, "produces a significant poetry list." Go to:
then go to the menu at the top left and click on "Contact

The Overlook Press:
Contacts Page, including "Submissions":

Pentland Press:
See contact info for its USA office (Raleigh, NC), at bottom of that

Sheep Meadow Press, a division of The University of New England Press
You'll have to contact UPNE re: how to submit:
as I can't find a direct link for Sheep Meadow.

Herman's book also recommends some good online sources for publishing
opportunities for poets. These include:

The Atlantic Unbound Poetry Pages:

The Electronic Poetry Center:

National Poetry Association:

Poetry Society of America:
Check out's poetry site:

A good strategy would be to enter as many poetry contests as you can
find listed at the above sites.

Also, attempt to get your poetry published in small magazines and
e-zines, then see if you can work your way up to such well-known
markets as the "Atlantic Monthly" or "Yankee" or any notable, fairly
wide-read magazine. (Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of general
interest magazines that use poetry these days.) Submit your poetry to
the magazine's poetry or essay editor. If one isn't listed in the
masthead, submit it to the fiction editor or associate fiction editor.

Placing well in poetry contests and racking up some publishing credits
in noteworthy magazines will impress editors at the publishing houses
you approach.

Search Terms:

"literary agents poetry"
"agents represent poets"
"find literary agent"

Please post a request for clarification if you have difficulty
navigating any of the above sites.

I wish you success in your endeavors.

marie1234-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
nancylynn-ga did such a thorough job researching my question that it
will take me a couple of weeks to completely absorb all the
information she found for me and to visit all the links she has
recommended, let alone to read the books she located. Thank you,

Subject: Re: Poetry agents in New York
From: kriswrite-ga on 09 Oct 2003 08:59 PDT
It's doubtful that you will find any reputable, successful agents who
will handle poetry. There simply is no money in it. Now, if they have
a client who also writes sale-able fiction or nonfiction, then they
*might* also handle their poetry...

Subject: Re: Poetry agents in New York
From: nancylynn-ga on 12 Oct 2003 09:01 PDT
Thank you very much for the kind rating and generous tip.

Subject: Re: Poetry agents in New York
From: spinnster-ga on 19 Jul 2004 11:32 PDT
There is a book called the Writer's Market, you can purchase it at any
major book store, it costs about $30.00. This book has over 1000 names
of book publishers, agents and presses. I am a published poet that
took the time to read this book. The publisher of your choice is the
most important. Getting published is very easy, just make sure you get
the contract you want. Do not sign away all rights, ever... and you
need a detailed quarterly statement of ALL your sales. Do not sign
unsolicited manuscript documents, they can be coercive. It is in my
experience that if you submitt a sample of your work to a publisher
with a clear query of why the publisher should sign you, and what your
basic requirements for contract are, you will see the results you are
looking for.
Subject: Re: Poetry agents in New York
From: matya-ga on 12 Dec 2004 08:27 PST
Hello All,

just to advise, I have deleted all names of all literary agents from
my site, mentioned above - .

The web is saturated with websites offering names and contact details
of literary agents for all genres, I don't want to compete with any of

In any case, out of all of those thousands of people, who logged into
my website, searching for an info, very few had the sense of gratitude
of at least bothering to write in a 'thank you' note into my

Best of luck in your publishing endeavours.

Matya Dio

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