... Writer's Digest is the other. There are two sides to every story and Poets & Writers represents the more creative, writer's life style with while Writer's Digest represents the mechanics, literary business style. Both sides are necessary lest one side fall over. Poets & Writers, while not in depth with what you might need to do to get an agent, has a way of just making you believe in the magic of creation through literature.
I was turned on to this bi-monthly magazine shortly after I began my first semester of college in the fall of 1998. My English Composition Teacher (a wonderful and creative poet) found a certain kinship with the writing I was handing in and noticed a bit of frustration. I didn't know where to go to get my stuff published. I knew I was still too green for anything big time. So what options did I have?
She brought me the last issue of Poets & Writers that was printed in the more independent way. It was stapled, not bound in complete black and white. I don't quite remember what was in that issue but it was enough to merit starting a subscription with the magazine.
Since then I have come to appreciate the many positive aspects of the magazine: the invaluable Classifieds Section (caveat emptor, you never know who is the real deal and who just wants your stuff) the many different sections like The Literary Life which tells every issue about a writer who the author of the article feels is so good their work needs to be exposed, The Practical Writer which has some things about writing, mechanics, creativity and the industry that you should know as well as ongoing contests, current events in writing, editorials and so much more.
Sometimes, some writers might have an aristocratic air to them. It is something that should be taken with a grain of salt. Those who want JUST THE FACTS might not be into these articles as they might others. Fortunately, I enjoy looking at it from all sides, the creative and mechanical. To become a good writer, one should look at every side of the story and P & W is a very very important to this story, indeed.
Unlike Writer's Digest or other more technical freelance writing publications, Poets & Writers is devoted to the art of supporting creative writers. From articles on award-winning poets and fiction writers to special issues on conferences and writing retreats, this magazine is geared toward recognizing creative writing as a career.
One of the most useful and helpful sections of the magazine is the back section--it's not printed on as nice or glossy paper as the rest of the magazine, but it includes valuable information on markets, award competitions, educational programs and other resources for writers.
This magazine is a must-read for those who want to keep their ears to the ground about industry information. And it is a self-esteem boost to those who have heard too many times, "OK, so you want to be a writer. Now what will you do to earn money?"
Accepts Freelance Submissions: Yes
Primary Reason for Buying: News/Current Events
I have been subscribing to Poets and Writers for years and feel it is my greatest link to the literary community. I find there's always something to learn in the features and in the back are very comprehensive lists of grants and awards and a calendar of deadlines. The classified section features more contests, calls for manuscripts, and literary magazines accepting submissions. Also listed, are conferences and writers' retreats. I've found it to be an invaluable resource. I have tried other writers' magazines, but this one is the only constant for me and I think there must be something for everyone who is interested in writing life.
Accepts Freelance Submissions: Not sure
Poets and Writers Magazine has gotten me work as a freelance writer. In
addition to well written features on writers and writing, there is a
Resources department which lists upcoming grants and awards, complete with
addresses, guidelines and editors' names. In addition, a clear and concise list of editors seeking manuscripts, contests and upcoming writers' conferences is in each issue. Published bi-monthly, Poets and
Writers is a non-profit, NEA funded magazine that is sincere and legitimate in fulfilling its mission in assisting writers in all levels of
This magazine is a great subscription for every would-be writer. It not only contains helpful articles about craft and professional writers, but it lists current literary contest deadlines as well as the recent winners of these contests. Even if you don't feel that you're at the point in your writing "career" to send out your work, you'll love getting this mag in the mail every other month--you'll feel connected and informed about the literary world out there. You can read up on conferences. It's such a great resource that you'll want to own each issue (so you can highlight and mark up), and you'll eagerly await each new issue.
Primary Reason for Buying: Product reviews/information
Back in my Junior college days, I stumbled upon a copy of Poets & Writers at the library. Since I was in there to research an economics paper, I made copies of several interesting articles to read in my room. I have been a reader of this magazine ever since. I like Poets & Writers mostly for its features. In one word, it is a magazine that makes you think. To a large extent, I will attribute the launching of my freelance writing career to this magazine. It has helped me build my confidence at an early age. This is what all debutants also need as they work on their writing career.
I can guarantee you that you will find articles, tips and advice that will help you tremendously. This is a magazine written for writers and by writers. If you want to remain informed of the literary world, the movers and shakers, Poets & Writers is the magazine to read. For example, in its current edition, you can read about the Miami Bookfair International. If you are serious about your works, if you are looking to find the right agents, you can't afford to miss such an international event. The setting is the best. Miami, with all its decors, can add a few dollars to your wallet in case you happen to sign the right contract.
I invite you to check the magazine's features, resources department, archive of posted articles, back issues and calendar submissions. Keep in mind that you can also submit your articles. You can do so only via snail mail.
I strongly recommend this magazine to you. Readers will see the confidence with which you write. A subscription to this magazine is an investment into your future, your writing career! Can't beat it!
I was amused in reading a sampling of opinions regarding Poets and Writers; many here seem to think everything should be Writer's Digest, a particularly horrific example of the "everybody thinks he's a writer" mentality that prevents more good, serious writing from being read. The fact is, to the academic community, P&W is a "fluff piece," occasionally offering useful info, but mostly attempting to make "stars" out of second-rate writers. I come down somewhere in the middle of the debate.
Writing, ladies and gentlemen, is an art form - always has been, always will be. "Selling your Writing" is an oxymoron - a good poet or fiction writer is constantly "selling" by virtue of the fact that the he or she (if they're any good at it) is attempting to forge art out of language...and a limited language at that, once you get deeper into using it. I think of P&W as a "transitional" magazine for those who are thinking of writing seriously, for the art and not an occasional paycheck from "I Love My Dog Monthly." Not sure if you want to take the art seriously? This mag is a good choice. It offers perspectives from all walks of the literary life (an opinion based on one issue that featured poetry is a bit silly, dontcha think?), from writers, editors and publishers. In a sense, it's an overview of the business. The Classifieds section offers a nice selection of journals, anthologies and online publishers seeking submissions, along with writer's retreats and other activities for those who seem to actually have the time for them. P&W offers the heart and soul that Writer's Digest and its ilk lacks - the seething fire that is art, not words slapped down on a page for commerce's sake. For that, I can only commend it.
I'd love to see more writers featured, pieces on American Poet Laureates, perhaps a bit more craft-oriented content as it applies to creating, not marketing, but I enjoy P&W when I pick it up, and I use the classifieds regularly to find new places for new pieces (and I write it all).
If you don't find an acknowledgement that some of us still consider writing an art form "stuffy," you'll love Poets and Writers. If writing for you is only a way to get a check every now and then, stick to the marketing mags...the propaganda machine that has all but replaced American Art offers several to choose from. Try learning a little...as I like to say to people whose intelligence is sorely and publicly lacking, "read a book!" You'd be amazed at what's out there beyond all the crap.
Primary Reason for Buying: Product Reviews/Information
Accepts Freelance Submissions: Yes
I don't need to go into my usual lengthy discussion of the item at hand, replete with often amusing and always illuminating (I hope) anecdotes. Pretty much all I have to say regarding Poets & Writers, I can say in 100 words or so. (And I write this review solely in the interest of informing writers who might be misled by the magazine's title.)
The basic message here is this: Poets & Writers is not really published for those who want to get into print. Rather, it is for the folks who study literature and the creation thereof. College English departments, grad students, a few publishing professionals, and the odd editor or writer.
You'll find lots of interesting reading here, but very little information on how to write for publication. Nor will you find much useful information on the subject of getting your work published by popular magazines or mainstream book publishers.
Good leisure reading, but not recommended if you're seeking anything more.
Primary Reason for Buying: Articles
Accepts Freelance Submissions: No