It is worth keeping an eye on trends in literary journals that publish poetry, especially if you have ambitions to submit work for publication.
Each literary journal will have its own policies and preferences; trends are not rules and different editors like different things but by following general trends we can get a good feel for the requirement of our target audience.
Long poems struggle to find a place in literary journals, shorter poems are more popular with editors, most favour poems no longer than one page. That said, online literary journals vary a bit: Some editors of online journals believe that shorter is better in digital formats; other editors are open to posting longer poems online because they’re not paying for paper. Generally speaking, the trend seems to favour poems that fit comfortably on one page.
This is a strange one, some journals request double–spacing while others are suspicious of it.
Sometimes you need the extra spaces between the lines to add something to your poem; to allow it to breathe. If you submit your work double–spaced be sure you’ve done it deliberately and for good reason. Some editors might suspect that double-spacing is an effort to make the poem “look more poetic.” Single-spacing will also make your poem a bit shorter. (See above)
Most editors will instantly dislike centred poems; they will feel the author is attempting to make their work appear more poetic than it actually is. Make your poem left justified if at all possible, editors will receive it more warmly.
Simple end rhyme is not fashionable. Mid rhyme and slant rhyme, well composed, are both acceptable to most editors. That being said, there certainly are editors who adore rhyme and are keeping it alive. But the general consensus is, rhyme is not as fashionable among editors as it once was.
A FINAL WORD
Following trends is not for every writer; I recommend working in the form you are most happy with. Develop your own style and voice and then find a journal or an editor who likes that style.
And if you feel you are destined to write the centered, rhyming, double-spaced, novellas as poems then go for it, there is room for every form, genre and style and as a poet you should be true to yourself.
Two further articles that are worth looking at to help you develop as a poet and increase your chances of publication are included in this week’s issue:
Developing Your Poetic Voice and Five Contemporary Poets Worth Reading.