Important Question to Editor-Types

A friend of mine had a chapbook published in a literary magazine recently. Only a handful of those poems were published in journals before the chapbook was published, so my friend wants to know, can he still publish other poems from the chapbook in literary journals? Or are they considered published now because they appeared in the chap?

And does it matter that the chap ran in a lit mag or not?



  1. I know only from fiction, but if the chapbook was in a literary magazine, I think the works have been "published in a literary magazine." Even if the chapbook was published independently, it's iffy. Some webzines will be happy to take works that appeared only in print publication, and a few print journals will too, as long as you notify them. Still, the chances of ever being "caught" on one poem are miniscule, unless you've got a bunch of enemies.

    I've never quite understood why a 500-printing litmag in Oregon cares whether a 1,000-printing litmag in South Carolina would print the same poem as they did. Is it likely their readership would overlap, do you think?

  2. For NER, published is published. We want first serial rights, and that is all there is to it. This varies from mag to mag. But tell your friend to go look in a Poets Market or other guide. Most mags will say whether or not they accept previously published poems.

  3. I've been thinking about this issue recently vis-a-vis blogging, for while serial rights are not given, the work is technically being published...but I'm really writing to tell you that...

    I've enjoyed your work and blog for far too long without showing my appreciation.

    So, 'tis the season...consider this your OFFICIAL INVITATION to my 8 day poetry bash as we count down to 2006!
    I'm pouring drinks and offering some unadulterated poetic fun, so come on in and cozy up on one of the Troubadour's couches, won't you?


  4. Hmm, your friend's story sounds familiar. Anyway, I'd have to say most places would consider that previously published. I think Richard brings up a good point, however: while I understand the impulse to have all first-run poems, I really think that smaller journals really shouldn't perhaps worry about it quite so much. To make the reverse argument, though, I think it might lead to the big names monopolizing even more space...

  5. I wouldn't take them.

    If they are anywhere I don't accept any poems....However if it is Richard Blanco, I will take it and smile. If it appears on a blog, I will also take it if I feel the writer needs more attention.

    Here is your portrait in the meantime.



  6. We accept previously published materials at Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments (www.terrain.org), and would consider those in the chapbook previously published. We don't, however, consider poems published on a poet's personal blog site as previously published, though that's tricky because some of those blogs likely get far more readership than some print (or online) lit mags.

  7. As far as my experience with photographs, I would never publish twice without creating conversation with both publishers. When I shot for Vital Source, I never even publish a photo that was printed. Its the magazines property always. The wonderful thing is not matter what publication it is, all they ever want is a simple plug.