Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

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I wonder how you feel about pamphlet competitions. Winning some of them (and one in particular) is a great coup, but often new poets are in competition with those who have been in the business a long time, or even people winning second time around. Does an operation like Wayleave sidestep the competition game altogether, or is it a secret competition? And anyway how do non-competitive poets survive the white-hot competition culture that surrounds us?

Pamphlet competitions. Yes. They can be both a distraction and an incentive. Lovely if you’re successful, but a bit of a wind-up if you’re not. Not to mention the cost of entry. I definitely don’t see Wayleave as a secret competition, but as a means of getting good work out there, regardless of the sometimes random-seeming workings of the competitive scene.

You say on your website: “The poetry market being what it is, I knew I’d have to rely on poets themselves to sell the majority of copies through readings or their own networks’. Does that mean you can only publish poets who have networks and do readings? (I don’t mean to sound difficult. I’m regularly contacted by poets who don’t know how to get a foot in the readings door without the pamphlet, and can’t get the pamphlet without the readings.)

No. The most important thing for me is the work itself. If a get a selection that holds together well and makes me feel very excited, I’m happy to publish. The poet can determine how many copies they want and can distribute. If it’s only a few, I adjust the print run accordingly. I will give them as much promotion/publicity as the others. I arrange occasional Wayleave readings to give the latest batch of poets a chance to read. These, inevitably, are local affairs in my home area of Lancaster at the moment. I can also recommend readers to other organisations in the region and farther afield but that’s a more uncertain business.