About Poem Tree
I started Poem Tree around 2000 as a way of getting more involved in poetry. I was writing what I felt was decent poetry then, and I wanted to get closer to the poetry scene in general. Since I have some of the qualities of an anthologist (i.e., I like to organize things), I decided to start an anthology. However, I am probably less qualified as an editor than I should be. I have only a high-school education, and I am not widely read in literature. Some of the poetry which is submitted to me is indeed over my head, especially when it includes literary references. That is why I asked my friend Rhina Espaillat to serve as an advisor.
A few years after starting this site, I started an online business (Purebeads.com). I immediately became too busy to develop this site, and I essentially abandoned it. However, in late 2012 I decided to give it another go. Frankly, I'm not sure how to proceed. For a while I considered adding only that poetry that I like – but then, I don't subscribe to a lot of poetry journals (because of the expense), so I'm not exposed to many new poets. I also don't own a car, so I don't get to many poetry readings. (When I started the site, I lived in New York City. Now I live in a small town in Rhode Island.) Consequently, I have to leave it up to poets to find this site and submit their poetry – but then, much of the self-submitted poetry I receive is amateurish. As you can see, I may not be the best person to be editing this site; but it's here now, so I do my best.
My original intention was to put individual graphics on every page of poetry, but that became impossible. Consequently, some pages are very nicely decorated, while some are quite plain. All future pages are likely to be sparsely decorated.
How to Submit Your Poetry
If you are interested in having your poetry posted on Poem Tree, please send me an email with a sample of perhaps five of your poems. (Please put the poems in the body of the letter; I do not open attachments.) The poems should represent the best of your work. That doesn't mean the longest or most philosophical poems; simple poems about everyday life and emotions are often the best (as Frost showed us). All poems should be previously published. If I like your poems, I'll ask for more. If you've published one or more books, I may ask you to send them to me. Your poems should have some formal elements. The element which is most essential is a musical or rhythmic quality. Poetry which reads like prose is not what I want. Other formalist elements are good too: meter, form, rhyme (blank verse is fine), etc.
Why must your poems be previously published? Although this is a quality site, it is not as prestigious as a literary magazine. Once you place a poem on this site, the poem has (according to the law) been published, and you cannot then send it to a magazine and claim that it is an unpublished poem (although any journal you send it to is not likely to know if it first appeared on the internet). Thus, it is best to place your poem in a magazine and then submit it to me – but not before the magazine has actually appeared in print (a couple months after publication is even better). Placing your poem here before it appears in print effectively "trumps" the magazine, invalidating the magazine's copyright.
Once your poems are on the site, I hope you will continue to send me your new poems and books.
Some important details:
Copyrights. Copyrights belong to the author. Only my own writing is copyrighted by me.
Continuing consent. Your poetry is posted with your continuing consent. If at any time you wish to remove it, please contact me. (If I die, however, I'm not sure how that situation will be handled. Presently, I'm in my mid-60's.)
Non-profit. This site is entirely non-profit. I do not charge fees to post poems. My association with Amazon.com is not active, and I have never made any money from it.
Graphics. All new poems will be posted with simple, generic graphics. I no longer have the time put individual graphics on every poem, as I did in the beginning.
Publicity. I don't publicize the site. That is up to the readers and poets.
New poets. If you are a new poet and want my opinion of your poetry, please ask someone else. My response is likely to be, "Your poetry has amateurish elements but will improve with time and practice." I am not a teacher.
Karen S. Nicholas