Money and poetry. It’s hard to find two words that don’t belong together more than these. That’s because it’s really difficult to earn money off poetry.
But it’s not impossible.
Did you know that there are places that will pay you for your rhymes and verses? You won’t be earning a fortune, that’s for sure, but you won’t be pocketing a pittance either. And you won’t just be earning a decent sum, you’ll also earn recognition for your talent and creativity.
In fact, here’s a list of sites that will pay you to write poetry and happily publish your pieces. Just note that each site has its own guidelines – be sure to read them all.
Poetry magazine is one of the most popular monthly poetry journals in the English-speaking world. It is also the oldest. Founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe, an American editor and poet, Poetry has featured pieces from the likes of T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Langston Hughes. The magazine is now published by the Poetry Foundation, an American nonprofit literary society that seeks to promote poetry and lyricism in the wider culture.
Poetry is open to submissions from the public, and pays compensation for published poems. For text poems, the pay is $10 per line with a minimum honorarium of $300 per poem. For visual poems, audio poems, and video poems, the rate is $300 per poem. If a piece is published in multiple formats, such as print and video, Poetry pays for each format. The magazine also accepts and pays for works of prose.
2. The Sun
The Sun is an American monthly magazine containing personal essays, short stories, interviews, fiction, poetry, and photography. A North Carolina-based publication, it features the ‘most radically intimate and socially conscious writing being published today’. It was started in 1974 by Sy Safransky and Mike Mathers on borrowed money, and now boasts a readership of over 70,000. The magazine prides itself in being ad-free; it is instead supported primarily by subscriptions and reader contributions. Writing from The Sun has won the Pushcart Prize and been selected for the Best American Essays and Best American Short Stories anthologies.
The Sun encourages unsolicited submissions of poems, personal essays, and fiction. For poetry, the pay ranges from $100 to $250. For each essay or fiction piece, the compensation is $300 to $2,000. The magazine also welcomes nonfiction and black-and-white photographs.
Rattle is an American poetry magazine based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1994, and is currently published by the Rattle Foundation, an independent non-profit organization established ‘to promote the practice of poetry’. Contributions from established writers such as Philip Levine, Jane Hirshfield, Billy Collins, and Sharon Olds have graced its pages; so do the works of many new and emerging poets. Poems from Rattle have been reprinted in several award series anthologies, such as the Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize.
Rattle publishes unsolicited poetry and translations of poetry. Contributors in print receive $200 per poem and a complimentary one-year subscription; online contributors receive $100 per poem. All free submissions are automatically considered for the annual Neil Postman Award for Metaphor, a $2,000 prize judged by the editors.
The magazine also gives out several poetry awards, which involve financial prizes. These include the annual Rattle Poetry Prize, which offers $15,000 plus publication for the winner; as well as $500 each and publication for ten finalists, and eligibility for the $5,000 Readers’ Choice Award. There’s also the monthly Ekphrastic Challenge, which grants a $100-prize for the winners and online publication, and the weekly Poets Respond series, which involves a $100-prize.
4. Virginia Quarterly Review
The Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR) is an American literary magazine that was established in 1925 by James Southall Wilson and since then has been in continuous publication at the University of Virginia. It features poetry, fiction, book reviews, essays, photography, and comics, and is regarded as one of the top-ranked literary magazines in the U.S. Since its inception, VQR has published essays, stories, or poems from famed figures such as Bertrand Russell, Eleanor Roosevelt, Robert Frost, Joyce Carol Oates, and Ann Beattie.
VQR regularly calls for submissions from both accomplished and aspiring authors. The current compensation rate is fixed at $200 per poem, up to four poems, while a suite of five or more poems is usually priced at $1,000. The magazine also pays for works of prose, including fiction, personal essays, and book reviews.
5. The Threepenny Review
The Threepenny Review is an American literary magazine founded in 1980. It is published in Berkeley, California, by founding editor Wendy Lesser. Maintaining a quarterly schedule, each issue features fiction, memoirs, poetry, essays, criticism, and photography to a readership of over 10,000. It is considered one of the most well renowned and respected literary journals in America. Pieces from the magazine have been selected for inclusion in the Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Essays, and The O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies.
The Threepenny Review encourages unsolicited submissions from authors and poets, both experienced and new. At present, the journal is paying $200 per poem, up to a maximum of five poems, each containing only 100 lines or less. The pay for prose is $400 per story or article.
6. Kenyon Review
The Kenyon Review is a quarterly literary magazine founded by American poet and critic John Crowe Ransom in 1939. Throughout its long history, the magazine has published the early works of important writers such as T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and Maya Angelou. While the Kenyon Review has now evolved from a literary magazine into a nonprofit arts organization, it remains committed to cultivating, publishing, and celebrating writing talent from across the world.
The Kenyon Review is open to general submissions, but only during specific times of the year, usually in September or October. The magazine, doesn’t only accept – and pay for – poems, it also welcomes short stories, essays, and plays from writers willing to share their work.
Ploughshares is an American literary journal that is published four times a year, with mixed issues of poetry and prose in the spring and winter, a prose issue in the summer, and a longform prose issue in fall. It was founded in 1971 by DeWitt Henry and Peter O’Malley, and since 1989, has been based at Emerson College in Boston. The journal is considered one of the most prestigious in the United States: many of its past contributors have received significant accolades, and many of its featured stories, poems, and essays have appeared numerous times in several well-known award series anthologies.
During its regular reading period, which usually runs from June to January, Ploughshares welcomes unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Payment, issued upon publication, is $45 per printed page, $90 minimum per title, and $450 maximum per author, along with two contributor copies of the issue and a one-year subscription. The journal also regularly hosts writing contests, with monetary and other prizes for the winners.
AGNI is an American literary magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, interviews, and artwork. It was founded in 1972 and is currently housed at Boston University. It is published in print twice yearly, in late April and late October, although small portions from the print magazine, as well as content that aren’t printed, are also published online. AGNI prides itself in featuring the works of ‘new writers early in their careers’, and that much of what it publishes are unsolicited.
AGNI is encouraging poem submissions, as well as personal essays, think-pieces, memoir, and short stories from ‘writers of all identities, living anywhere, published and unpublished’. The magazine pays $40 per page for accepted poetry up to a maximum of $300, and $20 per printed (or printed-out) page for accepted prose. Writers can send their work by mail or submit it through the website.
Subtropics is an American literary journal that is published twice a year. It is under the jurisdiction of the English Department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the University of Florida. It features fiction, essays, and poetry from accomplished and aspiring writers. Works originally published in the magazine have been subsequently selected for inclusion in the Best American Poetry, the Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize, and other awards series anthologies. Notable writers who have contributed to Subtropics include Seth Abramson, Steve Almond, Chris Bachelder, John Barth, Anne Carson, and Paul Theroux.
Subtropics accepts literary submissions that have not been published in any other print or electronic journal. For poetry, the pay is $100 per poem, for a maximum of four poem submissions. For prose, the pay is $1,000 for stories and essays, and $500 for a short short.
Boulevard is a biannual literary magazine that contains contemporary fiction, essays, interviews, and poetry. It was founded in 1984 in New York City by writer Richard Burgin, but is now based in St. Louis, Missouri. Boulevard has published works of important writers and critics, including John Ashbery, Ann Beattie, Billy Collins, Mark Doty, and Jennifer Egan. It has been called ‘one of the half-dozen best literary journals’ by poet laureate Daniel Hoffman.
Boulevard accepts submissions of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, both from experienced and emerging writers. For poetry, the pay ranges from $50 to $250. Interested contributors can submit a maximum of five poems at a time, with each poem no more than 200 lines. For prose, the pay is $100 to $300. The magazine also hosts poetry contests involving a $1,000-prize money and publication.
EPOCH is an American literary magazine that appears three times a year: in the fall, winter, and spring. It has been in continuous publication since 1947, and is edited by faculty in the Department of English Program in Creative Writing at Cornell University. The magazine features fiction, poetry, essays, graphic art, cartoons, and screenplays
EPOCH welcomes previously unpublished poetry pieces in all forms from keen writers. The payment varies from year to year, depending on the magazine’s funding. Presently, the minimum pay per poem is pegged at $50. Meanwhile, the maximum pay for a published story is $150, with more offered for fiction submitted by literary agencies and for long stories and novellas.
12. The Fiddlehead
The Fiddlehead is a Canadian literary magazine that is published four times annually at the University of New Brunswick. First published in 1945, it is the oldest Canadian literary magazine that is still in circulation. It was established by Alfred Bailey, and in its early years featured contributions from prominent Canadian writers such as Elizabeth Brewster, Fred Cogswell, and Desmond Pacey.
The Fiddlehead is open to submissions in English or translations into English from writers all over the world, including works in fiction, excerpts, creative nonfiction, and of course, poetry. The pay is $60 CAD per published page, plus two complimentary copies of the issue with your work. The magazine also hosts literary contests annually, with monetary prizes for the winners.
Arc poetry magazine is a triannual Canadian literary magazine that features ‘poetry that is woozy, cunning, shearing and wildlike, and prose that offers new perspectives on the verse you thought you knew’. It was started in 1978, and has since published works by significant Canadian poets such as Carol Shields, Don Domanski, Steven Heighton, Di Brandt, Erín Moure, and Diana Brebner.
Arc invites unsolicited submissions of previously unpublished poetry in English, or translations of poetry into English, on any subject and in any form, from poets at all stages of their writing careers. Compensation for poetry is at the rate of $50 CAD per page. Payment is issued upon publication, along with one free copy of the issue in which the work appears.
14. 50 Haikus
50 Haikus is a literary journal solely featuring Haiku poetry in open form. Each issue contains exactly 50 Haiku poems by established and budding poets. The mission of the magazine is to ‘discover exciting poets and publish beautiful books filled with their poetry’. As the magazine puts it, it wants to ‘make people fall in love with Haiku, and to surprise current Haiku lovers with new voices they will cherish forever’.
50 Haikus invites all poets, both from the well-known to the aspiring, to submit haiku in any form. The journal does pay its contributors, from $1.50 to $10, via PayPal.
15. Chicken Soup for the Soul
Chicken Soup for the Soul is a series of bestselling books that features short, inspirational stories and motivational essays about ‘ordinary people having extraordinary experiences’. The series currently has over 275 titles, been translated into 43 languages, published in over 100 countries, and sold more than 110 million copies in the U.S. and Canada alone, and 500 million copies worldwide.
Chicken Soup for the Soul is always open to contributions from writers anywhere in the world who have their own story to tell. While most of its stories are in prose form, the series also welcomes poems. However, only poems that tell stories are accepted. The pay is $200 per poem, paid one month after publication of the book, along with ten free copies of the book your story or poem appears in. You will also receive discounts and other freebies.