Thinking of sending poems to HappenStance?

Unsolicited pamphlet submissions are rarely accepted here. Why? Too many publications in the pipeline already.

If you're keen to be published by HappenStance, it's best to ask for feedback on a small amount of work and in this way test out the editing relationship. Over time, it might turn into something. But to get that feedback you'll need to subscribe. (If this seems costly, choose online-only subscription which is still only £7.00.) 

If you are a well-established poet, with a pamphlet proposal, I suggest you sound out your idea by email or by letter, bearing in mind what I said above. Give me a bit of background on yourself and your pamphlet idea, and I'll let you know if I have time and space to consider it. At present, I have stopped considering new ideas until March 2019.

We do not normally publish poets living outside the UK. There are exceptions, but you will need excellent connections inside these islands.

You also normally need a record of publication in reputable UK literary magazines, or another way of demonstrating a readership. (Check out the reputable magazines page, but be aware it’s not comprehensive.)

To find out about editorial preferences, try the HappenStance blog, or the sample poems in the online shop. Or even better — buy a couple of HappenStance pamphlets, or a book. Help keep the boat afloat. The advice in How (Not) to Get Your Poetry Published is as valid for this press as any other. 

Reading windows for HappenStance subscribers

If you’re a HappenStance subscriber, you can send up to 6 poems by post (or 3 by email if you live outside the UK) during the ‘reading windows’ for detailed feedback. Email senders should paste the poems into the body of a message.

Please don’t send poems before the reading window starts.

Equally, please don’t wait until the very end of the reading window. They should arrive between the 1st and the 28/29th of the reading window month. If they arrive on the very last day of the month, or later, they will come back to you looking sheepish and unread.

The next reading window is JANUARY 2019.

Here’s what to do during reading windows.

  • Check that your subscription is still active by logging into your online account (or emailing me if you've forgotten the password).
  • If you live inside the UK, send the appropriate number of poems by snail mail, with the right kind of stamp. Large envelopes (A4) need a large letter stamp. If it's A5 you may get away with a small one, but you'll need to check the thickness. (The Royal Mail has made this a nightmare for everybody.)
  • Please use either A4 or A5 envelopes (minimise the folds in the poems).
  • Please put one poem per page. (If longer poems run over two pages, put 'continued over' or similar at the bottom of the page.)
  • Enclose an SAE big enough to return the work (see Royal Mail requirements above).
  • Send no more than the stipulated number of poems. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been previously published, though it may be more use to you if they haven’t.
  • Include your name and address discreetly on each poem sheet (see Do’s and Don’ts)
  • If poems are lengthy, go by number of pages rather than number of poems.
  • Please don’t staple or bind the pages, or include a contents list.
  • Include a note of where/if you’ve had poems published, as well as a bit about yourself (not a lengthy CV, and certainly not endorsements, but a personal letter outlining where you are, your aims and ambitions etc. is much appreciated).
  • Don't send poems that have won competitions, since feedback on these is of limited use.


Please send poems typed or word processed in a size 12 font, single-spaced.

Paid Reading Service

We offer a full (paid) service for poets requiring detailed editorial feedback, and some discussion of how best to further their aspirations. Please don’t confuse this with a route into HappenStance publication. It is nothing to do with that.

There isn’t time to offer the paid service to many people, so if you think it might be useful to you, send an enquiry through the contact box.

The current rate for approximately four hours of time (how this would be spent is discussed with each person) is inside the publications list, which you can download from the home page. It's a service that's offered to subscribers only.

Alternatively, get hold of a copy of How (Not) to Get Your Poetry Published, which could save you a lot of pain, at the same time as sharing many of the unwritten rules of this frustrating business of getting poems published.

Address for submissions and enquiries:

Helena Nelson
21 Hatton Green

Fife KY7 4SD