the writing process, there's lots of opportunities if you know when to take them

Poetry Payment Rates

Late last year I and a couple other poets were talking about how much poets get paid for their poems. It occurred to me that I didn’t know which journals paid what, if anything. It could be the doing-it-for-the-love-of-it aspect of writing poetry (and writing in general), or the nigh impossibility to make a living wage from poems, but I have to admit I’ve never given poetry payment rates any serious consideration.

I’ve always been more interested in being published in journals that I enjoy reading, I guess, but the idea of how much poets get paid is an interesting (and potentially useful) one, so I did some digging and came up with a list.

It’s not intended to be definitive, but it might serve as the beginnings of a guide of some sort. A lot of it is based on personal experience and may as a result be out of date. Some of it comes from the journals’ own websites or emails from the journals’ editors. It’s also got an Australian bias, given that I tend to mainly submit to Australian journals, with the occasional foray into international online journals.

I’ve included rates for short stories as well, for those journals that also publish fiction, just to open that old can of worms about payment parity between poets and short storyists, and to show where various journals stand on the issue. Have at it, if you wish.

If anyone wants to add to this list (Oz or non-Oz journals – it’d be cool to know, for example, how much the New Yorker pays its poets) or correct it, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll update it.

Lastly, I should point out that while this list is ranked in order of size of payment from largest to smallest, I’m not intending to cast aspersions toward either the journals or the editors who pay less than others, or to lionise those who pay more than others. Literary journals are fueled by many things, but money is hardly ever foremost among them – kudos to anyone who turns their hand to the curation, editing and publication of a literary journal, and long may you continue to do so.

Poetry Payment Rates for Literary Journals/Magazine:

* = web journals

4 thoughts on “Poetry Payment Rates”

    1. Ah – okay. Is it exactly $100, Davey? I may have been confusing the time I got a poem published with the time they published a review of a poetry book and then syndicated it with the SMH. Or the time the SMH published TWO poems as an excerpt from Not Quite the Man for the Job.

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