Reading Windows and SubmissionsFull colour photo of a set of pencils, at different angles, and different types, with a sharpener and lots of sharpened pencil shavings.

We are not currently considering unsolicited pamphlet or book collections. 

The advice in How (Not) to Get Your Poetry Published is as valid for this press as any other. 

Reading windows for subscribers

If you’re a HappenStance subscriber, you can send up to 6 poems for feedback during the ‘reading windows’ for detailed feedback. You can do this twice a year, but not more than once in any reading window. 

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 6th and the 26th of the reading window month. If they arrive on the last day of the month, or later, they will come back to you looking sheepish and unread.

The next reading window is 6 — 26 January 2020.  Please arrange for work to arrive between these dates.

You can also take advantage of the new electronic option: email the poems to me as a Word attachment, and I will print, annotate them and return to you by snail mail. But you need to cover my costs (see 'New Option) below.

Here’s what to do during reading windows.

  • Check your subscription’s 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  check the thickness. 
  • Please use either A4 or A5 envelopes (minimise the folds in the poems).
  • Not more than one poem per page (if poems run over two pages, put ‘cont. over’ or similar at the foot of page.)
  • Enclose an SAE big enough to return the work (see Royal Mail requirements above).
  • Send no more than the stipulated number of poems. If poems are long, go by number of pages rather than poems.
  • Include your name and address discreetly on each poem sheet (see Do’s and Don’ts).
  • Please send poems typed or word processed in a size 12 font, single-spaced.
  • Don’t staple or bind the pages, or include a Contents list.
  • Include a personal note of where/if you’ve had poems published, as well as a bit about yourself (not a lengthy CV).
  • Don’t send poems that have won competitions (feedback on these is of limited use to you).

New electronic option:

Poets with a current active subscription can send 6 poems (and a covering letter outlining context, aims and aspirations) as a single Ms Word (preferably) or OpenOffice attachment to an email sent to nell [at], or email me via the contact box on this site and I’ll reply from my active email address. If document format is a problem, paste the poems into the email and I will format them for you. To cover the cost of printing, stamps etc, please make a donation of £5.00 via the donation button on the home page, and tell me you’ve chosen that option in your email. The document must include your name and address, not least because I will be posting them back to you, with pencil responses on the poems themselves. Please ensure poems are single-spaced, font no bigger than size 12. 

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. 

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. This service is 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