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I find that when I structure my poetry according to an accepted form such as a villanelle, sestina, or sonnet I am able to think more clearly because of the boundaries of the form, and believe my best poetry is in fixed verse form.

I'm concerned that fixed verse form poetry seems old fashioned (especially given the number of people who think writing a sonnet gives them license to torture the English language). Are there readers for this type of poetry? Are their editors or magazines who would welcome it? Should I work on perfecting my un-structured poetry instead?

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Is there a market for any kind of poetry :)? –  Lukas Stejskal Jul 19 '11 at 12:59
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Duotrope also lists poetry markets; that might be the best place to start looking.

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The Lyric, "the oldest magazine in North America in continuous publication devoted to traditional poetry", is one periodical that accepts formal verse.

The New Formalist seems to be another publisher of formal poetry.

(The wikipedia article on New Formalism might be of interest.)

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I think the real question should be whether or not there is a market for poetry in general. The structure is really up to the poet, but you need to keep in mind that the reader has to be able to understand it. If you do it just to be different, you risk putting off some people. However, as it was stated already, if you have a reason for it and the reader can discern that reason, then you may end up with a larger fan base.

Having said that, I have published eight books of poetry, and while I don't sell a whole lot, I have managed to sell some of each. in addition to that, I have gotten lots of favorable feedback and excellent reviews. I don't follow a consistent structure in any of my books. Instead, I have a wide mixture of different poetry forms. Some are rhymed, some are not. I think that by having a variety I have a better chance of reaching more people. Even if they don't like some, there is a greater chance they will like others.

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I don't feel this answers the question. He's not asking the state of poetry in general - and sure there's a market; it's just small, obscure and doesn't pay much. And much of that market seems very light on fixed-verse, so the question is whether fixed-verse is simply uncommon (but fine), or actively disapproved of. –  Standback Jul 22 '11 at 4:44
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Fair enough, but my second paragraph was intended to suggest that rather than concentrating on just fixed verse, it might be better to provide readers with a variety. To expand and more specifically address the original question though, I would say that there is just as much a market for fixed verse as there is for any other type of poetry. Ultimately, it just depends on who your inteded audience is and whether or not you connect with the right readers. –  Steven Drennon Jul 22 '11 at 4:50
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I've always preferred well-executed structured poetry to free verse, and it should be welcomed by open-minded editors. The real question is, are you really willing to change your style in order to capture more of a market that's not very large to begin with?

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