20 of The Best Poetry Magazines You Need to Read

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Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is! As a poet and poetry lover, that gets me excited, but what if you aren’t sure where to start reading poetry? Sure, there’s Instagram. You can also find some cool spoken-word poets on YouTube. But if you really want to dig into reading poetry, you need to find the best poetry magazines.

As any MFA student will tell you, there are an overwhelming number of literary journals out there. Most of them publish prose, art, and poetry. Even if we focus just on the journals and magazines that focus on poetry, there are a lot. It can take a lot of work to sift through them when deciding what to read. That’s why I’m here.

I referred to my copies of Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prizes to help me select these, as well as my own spreadsheets I use for submissions and tracking. Some of these magazines focus entirely on poetry, while others publish a mix of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art. All of these publish really great poetry, much of it completely free to read.

So here they are, the 20 best poetry magazines you absolutely need to be reading.

Best Poetry Magazines Focused on Poetry

Dust Poetry Magazine

Dustpoetry is a fairly new poetry magazine, founded in 2020 by Tara Wheeler, a poet and editor living in Cambridge, UK. The poems published here feel very modern, very in-this-moment, and are largely from unknown poets. This small-but-mighty magazine is one to keep an eye on.


Poetry can often be pretty heavy, exploring some of the biggest and most controversial issues in our world. Light aims to do something different: light verse. It’s like cozy poetry, and they’ve been publishing it since 1992.

Modern Poets Magazine

Another somewhat newcomer to the poetry scene is Modern Poets Magazine. As the name implies, their focus is on contemporary poetry. They’ve published both emerging and well-established poets and continue to do so on an ongoing basis with their online magazine.

ONE ART: a journal of poetry

Named after the poem by Elizabeth Bishop (I’m guessing since they don’t say outright, but it seems obvious), this new online magazine is another to emerge from the pandemic with some poetry aimed at brightening our days and exploring those deeper issues, too. I just love this newcomer.

Palette Poetry

I adore Palette Poetry‘s mission to “create a nourishing and brave space for poetic voices.” I find the poetry they publish to be just that, bold and nourishing to the soul. That’s what poetry should be, after all. They’re also one of the few online magazines that pays writers for their work. Bonus!

Plume Magazine

While poetry is not generally as highbrow as some people believe, there is room for highbrow poetry out there. Plume Magazine is one of those spaces. That’s neither good nor bad, just a different sort of poetry that deserves space, too. And Plume is really good at finding those poets.

Poetry Daily

Poetry Daily is exactly what it sounds like: one poem each day. They have one of the biggest poetry websites on the planet, and they see it as their job to expose people to all of the wonderful poets that are flying under the radar. Read it every day. I guarantee you’ll find some poets you love.

Poetry Flash

Yes, their website is very Web 1.0, but the content is some of the best you’ll find for poetry. They publish not only great poetry, but reviews of poetry books, poet interviews, and news about the poetry world. Since 1972, Poetry Flash has been one of the absolute best poetry magazines.

cover of Poetry Magazine February 2023

Poetry Magazine

This is the big one. Seriously. Published by Poetry Foundation, this magazine dedicated to poetry comes from a great foundation dedicated to poetry. They’re one of the hardest to get published in because they get so many amazing submissions, so they get to pick the cream of the crop. Oh, and their website has loads of public domain poems to read, too.

cover of Rattle issue 79


If you talk to academic poets, Rattle always comes up high in the conversation of the best poetry magazines. They’re very picky with what they publish, and their track record of award-winners proves how good they are, including 15 Pulitzer Prize winners and 12 U.S. Poet Laureates. Rattle knows how to pick them.

cover of The Rialto issue 99

The Rialto Magazine

Apparently the 80s were THE TIME for UK poetry magazines to get started. That’s when The Rialto took off. And they’ve been going pretty strong ever since, publishing regularly for nearly 40 years and paying a full-time staff. Those are both huge challenges in poetry, by the way. And their poetry is still some of the best out there.

Best Poetry Magazines That Publish Prose, Too

cover of Agni issue 96


Based out of Boston University, AGNI has been around since 1972 and is consistently one of the top literary journals in the world. Nowadays, they publish two large printed journals each year and a steady stream of online content as well. And that stellar reputation is evident with each poem they decide to publish.

The American Poetry Review

The American Poetry Review has been around since 1972. Funny enough, despite the name, The American Poetry Review actually publishes literary prose and interviews as well. Nevertheless, poetry is the main focus, and that poetry is brilliant.

cover of Foglifter Journal Volume 5 issue 2

Foglifter Journal

Foglifter is another newer kid on the poetry magazine block, but one that I love for its dedication to LGBTQIA+ writers and readers. In addition to their journal, they’ve branched out as a publisher of other books, still with that same focus. And the poetry is absolutely amazing.

cover of Granta issue 162


The elder statesjournal of this list has to be Granta. It was founded in 1889 at Cambridge University. I go to Granta when I want to know the pulse of the world more than the pulse of poetry. Maybe they aren’t as daring in form, but their content is powerful and addresses our world in ways that social or mass media cannot.

cover of Harvard Review issue 59

Harvard Review

Not to be confused with the Harvard Business Review, the Harvard Review has been around since 1992 as one of the best poetry magazines. They also publish fiction, nonfiction, art, and just announced a chapbook prize, too. This is another journal lauded by academic circles for its great work, and the poetry is indicative of why.

cover of Pleiades issue 42.2


Lots of big-name literary journals publish poetry. Most of them, in fact. This journal, founded in 1981 at the University of Central Missouri, really hits it out of the park with its poetry. Their prose is good. Their poetry is what sets them apart from so many other journals, though. Truly one of the best.

cover of Poetry London Autumn 2022

Poetry London

This magazine emerged in the punk era of 1980s London, and still retains some of those roots. Even with the recent and really cool redesign of their print magazine, it still feels on the edge. And the poetry? Same. They also publish some prose now, but the focus is still poetry.

cover of The Southern Review Winter 2023

The Southern Review

Since 1935, The Southern Review has been a staple of Louisiana State University and the literary world. Despite their long history, they’ve remained aggressive with their poetry selections, keeping their pulse on contemporary and established poetry at the same time. This makes for a great mix.

cover of Zyzzyva issue 124


Founded in 1985, Zyzzyva is based out of San Francisco and has always made that a core part of its identity. To that end, the poetry in their pages is always progressive and bold. If you want to find the bleeding edge of poetry and prose, look no further than the pages of Zyzzyva.

Now that I’ve given you SO MUCH to read, how else can you support the poetry community and magazines like these? Buy poetry books, of course. While much of this content is available for free, many of these magazines run on shoestring budgets. You can also buy their swag or just donate money.

Looking to submit to these great journals? Do your homework. I’ve linked to all of their websites, so look at their submission guidelines and windows. Every magazine is different, so take your time preparing each submission.

Happy National Poetry Month!