Category: poetry magazines

I Wanna Be Rejected: MAY 2024


A glutton for punishment I continue to prove that I am the

UK’s Most Ignored Poet or UKMIP.

So far I have applied to approx 36 Magazines since January 1st and the score is
Magazines 36 – Shaun Belcher Acceptances 0

Putting me well ahead in the Britain’s Got No Poets Celebrity Write Off Final

Interpreter’s House – STILL OPEN MAY

Fiction and poetry submission windows for October issues are open 1 April – 14 May inclusive.

Under the Radar  –  OPENING on May 1st

Poetry Ireland Review :

Submittable full April re-opens May

Shooter –  Theme: Nightlife   (print) CLOSING 15 MAY
Emerge Literary Journal    (online) CLOSING 20 MAY
Modern Poetry in Translation  XXX (I don’t do translation) Theme: dissent and resistance   (print)


Crannóg      print(?)
Strix     (print)
Anomaly Literary Journal    (online)
Carmen et Error   (online)
Green Ink Poetry   (online)
Leon Literary Review  (online)

NB OPEN 15 – 29 MAY:
The Stinging Fly    (print)



New Policy no USA and Canada mags reduces overall numbers and frankly wasting time.

Here’s this month’s chicken head on the chopping block list…after vetting left with very few opportunities

  1. London Grip – Three poems XXX (see below)
    Moon Turned Dark, Houses on the Horizon and Mallory’s Camera
  2. Briefly Write – two 16 line poems
    Working on a building of love, London Calling

London Grip: XXX

Been asked to re-submit a poem here for June issue so will do my best to write or find two other poems to go with it. Then this within one hour of submitting and 4 hours BEFORE deadline and apparently forgetting asked me to resubmit a poem ..

I have been rejected in a frankly bizarre message which states that despite a ‘very good poem ‘ (only bit he got right) I am at fault for not being on message with a theme which only arises when said theme occurs to the editor in process of editing. This duly increases control of said editor many times and makes him look even more god-like ( Or Emiritrus Professor ) in his position than he already considers himself. Oh magazine badly designed looks 20 years out of date and basically a soap-box for his own agrandisement.

Sometimes I grow tired of poets…especially arrogant incompetent ones.
This destination is permanently shelved in fucking useless box….oh and if want to complain about this content go ahead I will take piss even more ..

Still didn’t waste three very good poems on a shit magazine so every cloud has a silver lining.

Frogmore Papers : X
Post only which is sweet and as I was accepted via post in 1990s by I believe the same person (nowt else them days) I suppose not so bad I missed the post date totally….

Oxford Poetry
Another blast from the past although it didn’t charge me £3.50 or more last time (1993). Therefore ignored this time if wish to see more about the magazine the Submittable portal shows this

Amsterdam Quaterly : X

Theme Vibrations……I hate theme bollocks and I do not vibrate…

Beaver Magazine X (USA)
Unfortunate name…Seems to be USA based but could be Canada hard to tell. Good use of wordpress looks good.

Briefly Write
UK -based clear guidelines looks OK. Look like care and not just doing what they told post CW MA as so many do. Also have some idea about design.

Consilience : X

Now closed just as well mind-numbingly complicated process I know science related but need a degree?
Issue 17 is now closed for submissions of both poetry and artwork.

Empty House
Press X (USA)

OK allow simultaneous hard to judge magazine natural world emphasis in photographs. USA based. Out as USA cannot be arsed.

Porridge XXX
UK soley Post Creative Writing degree group so fairly young
ALL female editors.
There are NO men in art section which frankly pretty awful hence no I shall not bother is a club for females ( trans )only.
Put it on your masthead then…

I found a male name on a poem BUT it Trans about becoming a butterfly..oh dear…

If it Porridge it full of pink and sparkly bits really….

The Shore: XXX (USA)
USA based I think slightly older than fresh faced grads use of images worrying. Use of sea pictures always suggest Suffolk middle-class to me. OH USA based fresh-faced grads who probably like to live in Norfolk. Career building so give it a miss too…it incresingly easy to spot banged together magazines wiht poor graphics set up to publish people’s mates under ‘international’ signage. (USA)

Oh dear more new grads shit…their submission guidelines hoorendous arrogant shit to be honest was put off before even finished reading ..

CAREERIST nowt else likes to boast about how well it doing bet actual poetry fucking awful. They wouldn’t know art or good design if it ran them over…

Spellbinder was founded in 2020 by a group of students based in England, who had first met at the Durham University Creative Writing Society.  How nicey middle-class. File by Porridge I hate these kind of fake magazines.


So Obscura hard to tell if real or a names and an identity taken from free theme sources online…its first anthology focusses on BLUE

that it I out….


Phew a proper magazine at last

Decent magazine varied content know what doing. easy to spot after a while…

How to Be Rejected ( to tune of Alice Cooper’s I wanna be Elected) Pt.2 – March – 2024

Submitting poetry to magazines these days seems to be akin to buying a lottery ticket or as I remember as a child filling in the football coupon with Xs….

Here are March Xs on the coupon…

So far the score is not good

Magazines Submitted to Jan- February- 10

Rejections – 10

However the average success rate of submission windows that run into thousands literally is below 10%…..according to the magazines themselves nice to let me examples from two replies..

We print less than 1% of the poems sent in each call,

We received a large number of submissions, only 10% of which will comprise the next edition.

So on that basis the best hit rate mathematically is 10 acceptances for every 100 mags submitted to… most in fact nearer 1% or 0ne in a hundred acceptances which says it all really..

I do only do online free submissions so at least there not the cost of stamps as in the old days.

Over a two year period 1992-4 I kept records of paper submissions.

The hit rate then was about 10 in a hundred so it looks like chances due to volume are bout one tenth of what they were in 1990s if I being optimistic my feelings is it now really about 1% of what it was ten there more poets out there now than potholes…

This because of pure numbers the increase in people self-identifying as poets has probably increased by a factor of a thousand plus.


So here we go

Current SCORE

Potential Magazines this month = 14

Actual number submitted = 7 Rejections so far = 6 Open = 1

Banshee X(Ireland) Instant hit as designed by someone who knows how to design a cover and it Irish..that enough to submit end of…

Firewords (Scotland) I like Scotland it produced better writers over last 100 years than England and that a self-evident truth…

London Magazine X (Poetry Prize submission £10 a poem ) No I do not pay to enter anything …too mean and too sensible. They rejected me politely last month for a free submission I do not need to pay to be rejected when I can get it for free…free market economics..

Magma X (Themed ‘Grassroots’ not a good theme ) Very worthy but I don’t write social work poems….or do therapy worksops…or save whales very often..I do what I can and like most sane people bemoan the mess the Tories have made of these islands…

Shearsman X
By the time you read through the fairly arrogant tosh that the editor throws at you you pretty much feel like torching the whole thing. Oh and if they have to tell you they publish more women now it says it all really…

Also the editor handily tells you that nobody gets published until they have evidence of a period of being published thereby establishing a fan base to sell the fucking things ( although 99% of all poetry sells fuck all..) which happened with my Salt pamphlet which contained 20 years of published poems and sold 62 copies.

So cheers at present rejection rate I be six feet under long before I have the smattering of published poems required. Which why I self-publish and say bollocks to that system….submitting is a fun game nothing more and there some good stuff out there just have to dig deep.

OneArt (usa) XXXXX

Cool faux pop art look even cooler response times which makes me suspicious. Overall design lacking is basic at best suggests grad student building own profile job. Ha not even that actually quite an operator and CV builder on own. This mag is pretty fake and a prop to his ambitions basically…..not unlike a few similar people this side of the pond.

Response within 24 hours was a stone cold auto-respond so suspect he (not they) read bio do not read work . Ah checked all their recently accepted work and yup Bio derived acceptances or they just so good at picking every acceptance with a good bio..ha ha ha wonder they turn around so fast . Not a single poet (80% female by the way but that could just be state of play right now as no overt feminist flags) on their acceptance list had less than a fully developed CV .

Oh and he can help you be a better poet..indeed…
For that to be the case we have to look at his work
These three poems by ********** explore the subjective nature of reality…
I not going to present here but what follows are three pretty awful poems which figures…..made me laugh out loud.

I will not be troubling OneArt again …good thing is can dismiss as crap quickly and re-purpose to somewhere half decent instead 🙂

Full House Literary X

Very nice personalised reply good people to do business with will certainly send again in future.

Trans Non Binary friendly young guns mag part of Bad Betty/Broken Sleep wokeism. Terribly twee but then a generation that never worked and spends time networking has never really got its hands dirty. Closer to modern music than poetry as I knew it but that not such a bad thing. Submitted but would never expect to be published as for them it like trying to comprehend their grandfather’s point of view but then some grandfathers are still cool like Patti Smith ..


Stone of Madness Press X
is a physical [online] and conceptual space for queer, trans, and neurodiverse writers. I not in that tribe but a clear masthead and purpose again thank you for clarity and all the best.

Swim Press X
is an independent publisher and magazine
established in 2021 by a group of four Lancaster University
friends. (clarity and honesty well done).

All women editors so probably slanted toward feminist perspective.

It reminded me of a Creative Writing course I walked away from where too many sublimated sexual desire stories being written by young women to be healthy ( Wolves tore my clothes etc)..whilst amusing I not going to send any such story to a theme of ‘Desire’ but all best…from small acorns mighty oaks grow could be new generation Virago in 10 years so don’t knock em..

Muleskinner Press X

Despite my kind words a kindly worded rejection which did not appear to auto-respond will try again.

Made me laugh which not a bad thing these days and so American it could be an Americana music journal even the name….submitted three ‘reckless’ i.e. unpublishable anywhere else pieces that maybe the Yanks get but probably not…the best editorial CVs I seen in a while and a fucking relief after wading through the usual BMCC stuff * (British Middle Class Cosy). What the hell they will make of me god knows but hell they got Trump to deal with..I should be easy 🙂

Thimble literary Online X

Same as above not much of a reply but not stupid or asking fro money which a bonuds these days woudl consider again.

Well designed know what doing another USA based magazine which mixes the music and art worlds into mix my kind of people…bit confused by submissions page and suspect already closed but sent them some poetry anyway. Likeably laid back submission page without the usual rigorous delineation of sending ..

Moss Puppy: XXXXX
Young uns with no sense of design values chucked together at WIX which means pretty time maybe improves but looks like thrown together by 12 year olds ..actually most 12 year olds could do better.

Really am I going to submit to something that looks like a teenager’s…even the name is Twee Crap as is the stoopid themes idea…oh and the fanart section well words fail me…they really do…makes Deviant Art look interesting.

Propel: X

Stated Ian MacMillan read submission even though submiittable says not which looks like bullshit but there you go my poems always been better then that professional northern clown anyway…who seems to be setting up a dynasty such is the power of celebrity poets they can breed themselves…can’t wait for GoggleBoxPoets

Serious stuff which a relief after last farago…(which I believe was the name of a Poetry Magazine once will have to check).

So serious I doubt I stand a chance until Faber come knocking but worth further reading and as have two days to do so will investigate further….looks very good.

Hell I even heard of some of guest editors and they are my age …its a start and maybe a small shaft of light at the end of the tunnel 🙂 Submitted all six of my father’s things poems.

I wanna be Rejected….

I’m your top prime cut of meat, I’m your choice,
I wanna be rejected,
I’m your yankee doodle dandy in a gold Rolls Royce,
I wanna be rejected,
Kids want a savior, don’t need a fake,
I wanna be rejected,
We’re all gonna rock to the rules that I make,
I wanna be rejected,rejected,rejected.

Poetry Reviewing again after 30 years!

Back in 1996 at the height of my poetry career (in Scotland not here!) I reviewed for the great Lines Review I not seen this in years but here a John Glenday and Richard Price review.

I posting as I starting to get my pencils sharpened for some more reviewing after a break of 30 odd years.

I feel like an undercover ‘sleeper’ activated behind iron curtain in a Len Deighton novel. I have returned to Poetryland with fake ID and a Walther PPK hidden in my Jacket (Poetry ref there peeps)..just so you know


wrote this many moons ago nothing changed
the description of Les Murray reading at the end is true


There is something about poetry in England
That is awfully nay terribly Middle Class
Something not quite right in the hands of a worker
Sibilants dribbling like snot from the poor man’s nose

Wiping its sleeve on the tasteful tablecloth of power
Always waiting to be found out or at least held up
As an exemplar of the erudite working class chap
Even that Larkin fellow wasn’t a chav was he darling

Then the skirmishes with the Leftist proletarians
Or the Rightists in their towers quaffing champers
No never quite right, never accepted as kosher
Little piggy faces pressed to the literary crown jewels

In 1992 I gate-crashed an Oxford University poetry bash
Crept along corridors I had no right to be in
After another day serving the arrogant little sods
And after much prevarication finally made it in

Les Murray, sitting like an antipodean Buddha
Laughing like a Boeotian at the Athenian Temple
Then he slowly let rip with poems from Dog Fox Field
Words circling the pews like a fox in a henhouse

I walked up shook his hand said thank you

And skedaddled before they set the hounds loose

POETRY SUBMISSIONS: The Poisoned Chalice

Yesterday evening I submitted to all these with varying degrees of success with the exception of Belle Ombre (which I had never heard of and which seemed a contender for the new Agenda up its own (hare’s) arse award). I got something off to all the rest even the one that I was not supposed to get to i.e. London Review of Books which I worked out later drops subs in the genre they trying to make money on through a competition…nice little capitalist ploy there LRB.

I sent three poems anyway to annoy them.

The rest especially those using submittable were all good. Clear guidance and appeared to know web from elbow. Except Allegro which should win an award for bad usage of out of date blogger and no comprehension of design or fonts. (The editor kindly rejected me already so we evens). The good thing is some decent poems rejected already on the recycle route to be flung elsewhere.

I submitted a whole pamphlet to The North because it a good magazine and it did not say you couldn’t.

London Grip I had heard rumours of through Neil Fulwood and John Lucas connection.

Poetry submitting is a bit like going out to bat without a take a defensive stance and wait for the hundred mile an hour hard ball of rejection to bounce into your sensitive spot.

The balls get bowled back on average six months later it appears so not losing sleep over some of the more arcane ‘self-publishing and social media’ rules which frankly bullshit invented by people still working out what the internet is.

More frightening is the references to NO AI which like horse and stable door frankly too late most of the crap I seeing around the magazines and the hell for leather publishers is probably already AI induced.

Michael Longley and ‘The Fallow Period’

The Candlelight Master

Looking back at those difficult years now, do you feel that the silent
stretches were detrimental to your work?

If I hadn’t been fighting battles on other fronts, I might have been scribbling boring middle-aged verse – like MacNeice who twittered on for a decade until the miraculous final poems. It seems that the Muse favours the young and then, if you can weather the middle stretch’, the pensioners. Silence is part of the enterprise. Most poets write and publish far too much. They forget the agricultural good sense of the fallow period. The Muse despises whingers who bellyache aboutwriter’s block’ and related

One of the best things ever said to me about poetry was John Hewitt’s off-
hand remark: `If you write poetry, it’s your own fault.’

JODY ALLEN RANDOLPH – Michael Longley in Conversation

This interview is taken from PN Review 160, Volume 31 Number 2, November – December 2004.

I was relieved to see that I not the only middle-aged poet who had a fallow period. Until now I thought my future was more akin to a Larkinesque slump as he detailed in the majestic yet sad refrain on this late poem…


by Philip Larkin

Most people know more as they get older:
I give all that the cold shoulder.

I spent my second quarter-century
Losing what I had learnt at university.

And refusing to take in what had happened since.
Now I know none of the names in the public prints,

And am starting to give offence by forgetting faces
And swearing I’ve never been in certain places.

It will be worth it, if in the end I manage
To blank out whatever it is that is doing the damage.

Then there will be nothing I know.
My mind will fold into itself, like fields, like snow.

So maybe like Longley (still alive at 81!) the best is yet to come….or some is yet to come ….

Michael Longley | Authors | The Soho Agency

Substitute : New volume of poems 2018

Sometimes all it needs is a trigger and Kit de Waal’s excellent piece in the Guardian yesterday brought together a lot of things for me that been bubbling under the surface.

Her article ‘Make room for working-class writers‘ touched a nerve…..

read it here

Also she made a comment about how the Proper v Performance Poetry debate basically divides along class lines and that really rang true for me.

It is the reason I leapt to the defence of McNish and Tempest. Adrian Slatcher’s comments about the experience of being a working class writer also hit home.

In 2011 we were both published by SALT as Salt Modern Voices but throughout I felt an outsider at that particular party.

I was reading next to very affluent new poets from privileged backgrounds who frankly I had nothing in common with.

Most of the audience were from their background not mine and in a particularly depressing reading in Oxford I actually felt antagonism for raising my subject in their presence.

A mostly white female middle-class leftist audience did not like to hear about the destruction of the working class communities of Oxford which allowed them to enjoy their academic privileges.

Some inconvenient truths are not wanted even by allegedly left-leaning liberal elites.

Adrian’s very erudite piece on the subject here:

Since then I have noticed that academic poetry and performance poetry have started to separate in a alarming way. This is an outcome of a deliberately devisive education policy by government that increasingly appears to be a ‘pay to play’ approach to education.

If your parents invest a £100 k plus (BA+MA+PHD fees)you will one day get the payback of an academic career before 30 in return . An American privatised model.

These factors stopped me writing..I gave up..I felt nobody cared..that there was no audience for what I did..and I was right….the middle-class ‘proper poetry’ area isn’t interested in me..isn’t interested in the truth of working class lives and experience as a subject.

PN Review and others are not interested in working class experience one iota.

You want to play in the Premiere League magazines better hide all that personal shit and start writing about your foreign holidays, how difficult it is being a middle class person post Brexit or at worst make up shit about Impressionist painter’s wives you have no knowledge about but it feels authentic enough to your equally pretentious and middle-class readers sitting in their sun lounges drinking martinis to swallow.

Poetry for me has always been a means of articulating my anger at the class system in the U.K.

It has always been polemical even when it appears to be purely personal. As Raymond Williams wrote about the Romantics ‘the personal is political’.

So I have the impetus and hopefully in a few weeks a book to go with it…..I feel that inspired. I have been silenced for too long.

I am coming off the subs bench……I may not make the first team but I will put in some hefty tackles especially on Simon Armitage …the David Beckham of poetry;-)


Diesel on Gravel – The Berkshire Raymond Carver? 1985-1990


Poems written in London and Oxfordshire. Published in early 1990s in Last Gasp pamphlets. Last Gasp was a poetry open mic I helped run with poets Giles Goodland and Bridget Kursheed in Oxford.

From 1986 I was heavily influenced by Raymond Carver and especially his book FIRES.  Indeed I attended his memorial readings event in London and saw Edmund White, Richard Ford and Salman Rushdie read in his honour.

I think this volume is the ‘lost volume’ as I was living at home in Didcot and totally cut off from literary world from 1988 until 1990.

I did do some readings through the Last Gasp group until I moved to Edinburgh in 1993.

None of these poems have been seen apart from in these hand made pamphlets.

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This was the volume which would ‘break me’ I thought the world was my oyster…..I would outwrite Simon Armitage…

Well hindsight is a wonderful thing I am unemployed and he is Oxford Professor of Poetry..

I read with him in Reading in 1990..he was arguing with the arts officer over money..he a little more pushy than me.

I was unemployed and dressed like Yeats and hadn’t got a clue that it was a poetry ‘business’ …

BUT I could write…fuck lot of good it did me…..

But this was all done off my own back..  no University Department objectives to tick box influential friends..nothing but words..and in the end words is all there is….

Its as good as it gets maybe one day I get some recognition for all this but I wouldn’t bet on it…..

Ironically I got recognition in Scotland……should have stayed there but that another story and the next volume ..Landmine…

Och Aye…

Style note all hand written then typed on my mother’s old typewriter.

The last few pages of the document as pdf have originals and some uncollected poems.

The blue pen and line through a poem are from Giles Goodland when selecting for a pamphlet…I did not have second copies as everything had to be typed by hand …so here it is..

Diesel on Gravel…..1990

Diesel on Gravel PDF

The Tithe Machine – Poems 1981-1985


titheM newcountry


My first poems from 1981-1985 after art college. Some were published in the first volume of a’The New Magazine’ then just started by Gerard Woodward who  went on to be a well known poet and novelist.
Unsure of my writing I used the  ‘David Bell’ alter ego.

32 poems including the sequence ‘The New Country’ from 1985.

1981-5 never shown these to anyone since. Post art college first poems..reading Pasternak and Heaney…Bunting and W.C.Williams…and a hefty bit of John Masefield and Edward poems to a non-existent mythical England…32 poems including the mad The Moon Over Henley my version of Bunting and T.S. Elliot..I kid you not…with some Echo and The Bunnymen in there too:-)

32 poems because same number as Hughes ‘Hawk in th Rain’…along with Heaney a major influence the only four poetry books I owned at art college were Heaney’s ‘ Death of a Naturalist’,  Hughes’ book and Sylvia Plath’s’Colossus’ and Thom Gunn ‘Sense of Movement’ .not a bad start:-).

I still have all four..

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The Tithe Machine by Shaun Belcher on Scribd


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