If getting a book published is difficult, getting a poetry book published is even more challenging. One reason is that there is not a lot of money in poetry, and not very many agents accept poets as clients. Additionally, most major publishing houses only recognize and are willing to print works of poets who are already established.
But do not lose hope. There is still a market for a good book of poems. And if you have that, all you’d need to do is to find the right literary agent to represent you and help you get it published. Below are the 10 best literary agents for poetry.
- Bill Clegg from The Clegg Agency
- Larissa Melo Pienkowski of Jill Grinberg Literary Management LLC
- Marya Spence from Janklow & Nesbit Associates
- Alice Whitwham from Elyse Cheney Literary Associates
- Kima Jones from Triangle House Literary
- Jenni Ferrari-Adler from Union Literary
- Chad Luibi from Janklow & Nesbit Associates
- Janet Silver From Aevitas Creative Management
- Peter Straus of Rogers, Coleridge, and White
- Abigail Frank from Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Bill Clegg from The Clegg Agency
Bill Clegg is a literary agent based in New York. Bill also happens to be a New York Times bestselling author. His experience writing for Lapham’s Quarterly, The Guardian, The New York Times, and Harper’s Bazaar has given him an insight into what people enjoy reading. This comes in handy when he advises authors.
Bill Clegg is part of The Clegg Agency. He manages a string of authors, some of which are poets. One of his poet clients is Nick Flynn, an American playwright, memoirist, and poet.
He has published two poetry collections: Some Ether and Blind Huber. The latter won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award.
Tao Lin is another one of Bill’s top clients. He is a novelist, essayist, artist, and short story writer who has published two books of poetry: you are a little bit happier than i am and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
If you are interested in being represented by Bill, send him an email. Talk about the project, provide your brief bio, and send a few samples of your work. Bill will respond to you directly if he sees potential in your material. Note that the agency will not open any attachments unless requested so paste your work into the body of your email.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Larissa Melo Pienkowski of Jill Grinberg Literary Management LLC
Larissa Melo Pienkowski used to perform poetry both recreationally and competitively. After getting her MA in Publishing and Writing, she worked for the Beacon Press and Barefoot Books. She eventually landed a job as an assistant publisher.
She joined the Jill Grinberg Literary Management as an agent in 2020. Since then, she has been building her list of clients. Her clients include Remica Bingham-Risher (Starlight & Error, What We Ask of Flesh) and Aline Mello (More Salt than Diamond). She also represents other novelists like TJ Alexander and K. Tempest Bradford.
Larissa enjoys reading poetry that talks about contemporary themes that appeal to her emotions. She likes funny and whimsical writing too. If your poems have the same feel, send her a query letter.
Submit your query letter in an email. Make sure to address your submission to Larissa directly. Use this format in the subject line: QUERY: Title of Project by Your Name / Your Book’s Age Category and Genre / ATTN: Larissa Melo Pienkowski. Paste the letter in the email’s body and attach a docx file of your materials.
Email address: email@example.com
Marya Spence from Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Marya Spence loved words ever since she was young. She would often say that she was not analytic. Instead, she thought in poems, phrases, and images. She believes that storytelling comes from the need to translate one truth to another. And helping other writers do that is her passion.
Marya is an agent who represents a diverse set of writers of literary novels, essays, narrative journalism, pop culture, and poetry. She is also a creative writing teacher at New York University.
She spent years interning at various publications like Vanity Fair, Metropolis Magazine, The New Yorker, and Publishers Weekly.
If you want to be represented by Marya, send your work to her agency with the following: an informative cover letter, a synopsis, and sample pages of your work. If you are sending it via email, paste the material into the body of the email. Address your submission to Marya directly since the agents share one account.
For query letters sent via standard mail, include a SASE with sufficient postage. Otherwise, any material submitted will not be returned. Submit your work to one agent at a time.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 445 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022
Alice Whitwham from Elyse Cheney Literary Associates
Alice Whitwham has diverse experience when it comes to publishing. She used to organize events at McNally Jackson Books. There she learned how to bring writers to public audiences. She also studied literature and cultural theory and poetry, for which she holds an MA.
She joined Elyse Cheney in 2016 as a literary agent and marketing director. Her client list includes Carina Del Valle Schorske, Suki Kim, Anna Della Subin, Shane McCrae, Anand Gopal, and many more. She represents poets James Lasdun ( Landscape with Chainsaw) and Camonghne Felix (Build Yourself a Boat).
If you wish to be represented by Alice, send a query letter with a brief description of your work. Include also your professional background along with samples of your material. You can opt to send your query by mail or through email. If you want your materials to be returned, don’t forget to include a SASE.
Phone number: (212) 277-8007
Email address: email@example.com
Address: 39 West 14th Street, Suite 403, New York, NY 10011
Kima Jones from Triangle House Literary
Kima Jones started her career in publishing as the founder of a book publicity agency, Jack Jones Literary Arts. She led most of their publicity campaigns for brown and black writers. According to The Los Angeles Times, she was 2018’s literary breakthrough.
Kima joined Triangle House Literary in 2021. Her hunt for clients focused mostly on writers who produced hybrid texts, essay collections, and poetry. She is somebody poets would love to work with due to her decades of publicity and marketing experience.
If you want to be represented by Kima Jones, query her through her QueryManager. You can find the link on the agency’s website. Include samples of your work and a brief bio. Explain what inspired you to write your poems to let her see how you work.
Jenni Ferrari-Adler from Union Literary
Jenni Ferrari-Adler is a highly experienced literary agent from Union Literary. She loves reading fiction books with engaging storytelling and one-of-a-kind narratives. Her focus has been the agency’s cookbook list but she is now working to represent memoirs, nonfiction, and poetry.
Her client list includes Jenn Baker (Forgive Me Not), Kristen Roupenian (Cat Person), Susie Yang (Ney York Times bestselling novel White Ivy), Aya de Leon (Undercover Latina), Amy Kurzweil (graphic memoir Artificial), and many more.
Jenni is the type of agent who works closely with her clients. She even handles film and television, magazine, and foreign sales. Her client list does not include poets yet so if your work is exceptional, then you might be publishing your first poetry collection with her.
Jenni prefers to receive electronic query letters. Send it to her email address along with samples of your work pasted in a doc or docx document. Do not send the files in PDF form. Do include a brief bio in your query letter so she’d know your writing credentials. Highlight any awards won by the poems you are submitting.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chad Luibi from Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Chad Luibi joined his agency, Janklow & Nesbit, right after completing his MFA in Creative Writing in 2014. He has been working with various authors of fiction and nonfiction ever since. He loves stories that have fast, imaginative plots and transcend genres. He looks for works that have a strong emotional core.
As for poetry, you will catch his attention if your work revolves around social justice or anything that challenges the status quo. Chad claims that he is very hands-on when it comes to agenting. If you happen to receive an offer of representation from him, you can expect a lot of guidance, which is great for newbies.
Send your submissions to his email. Make sure to indicate “Query” in your email’s subject line. Add a short bio and some samples of your work. You can attach them as a Word document.
Email address: email@example.com
Janet Silver From Aevitas Creative Management
Janet Silver was formerly a publisher at the Houghton Mifflin Company where she helped authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Philip Roth. She then joined Aevitas Creative Management and became a literary agent. She brought all of her knowledge and experience from the publishing side to help her clients.
She represents a host of award-winning and bestselling authors of creative nonfiction, literary fiction, and poetry. Her list includes the author of the international bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed. She is also the agent of Safiya Sinclair. Safiya is the award-winning author of Cannibal, a collection of poetry.
Janet represents authors whose works contain unique perspectives and singular voices. If you want to be represented by her, fill out the submission form found on the agency’s website. Select Janet’s name from the dropdown menu at the top of the form. Paste samples of your work in the proper section.
Phone number: (617) 262-2400
Address: 545 Boylston Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02116
Peter Straus of Rogers, Coleridge, and White
Peter Straus has over three decades of experience in the publishing business. He was the editor-in-chief for Macmillan’s adult trade imprints before becoming a literary agent at Rogers, Coleridge, and White back in 2002. Five years later, he became Managing Director of RCW.
His passion for poetry may have stemmed from the twelve years that he spent as the publisher of Picador. His task there was setting up the poetry list. To date, he still loves poetry but is also involved in representing bestselling authors of commercial fiction and nonfiction.
If you want to be included in the long list of writers that Peter represents, submit your query via email to Peter’s assistant. His agency does not accept postal submissions. In your covering letter, talk about your background and your poetry. Send some samples in the body of your email. Peter’s response time is six to eight weeks.
Email address: Lena Mistry - firstname.lastname@example.org
Abigail Frank from Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Abigail Frank graduated with a degree in English Literature, but she initially did not start working in the book industry. Instead, she went into healthcare. After some time, she decided to switch tracks and pursue her passion for books.
She works with illustrators and writers at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is known for working with authors who never underestimate their readers. She loves advocating for works of those with marginalized identities and seeks to find projects that allow young readers to see themselves in the books that they read.
Abigail is on the hunt for young adult material in verse form. If your work is inspired by or similar to The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, then don’t hesitate to send your query letter to this agent. Email your letter with the keywords “Query: [your work’s title] in the subject line.
Talk about yourself in brief and send samples of our work as an attachment. Abigail’s response time is 4 to 6 weeks. However, because of the number of submissions she receives, she cannot respond to every email sent.
Email address: email@example.com