I am an aspiring poet from Australia. I have been working on a manuscript of poems, and whilst it will not be completed till around the end of the year, I figured I should start looking for a literary agent ahead of time.
I realise you do not accept poetry submissions but I was wondering if you could perhaps refer me to someone who does?
I realise you may only have International contacts but I cannot find a single literary agent in Australia that will accept poetry submissions. I am entering competitions and seeking publication through literary magazines whilst completing the manuscript to get my name out and about - so I should be able to offer a bit of publication history to anyone who may be interested.
I don't know any agents who accept books of poems from a first-time client. You get known as a poet by having poems published. Then, those poems are collected and published by the very few presses that do poetry.
The poets I do represent were signed for book-length projects, not poetry. So, yes I represent poets, but not poetry.
You're on the right track by submitting to contests and magazines. Avoid the scammers. Avoid the contests with exorbitant entry fees.
Look in collections of poems for the places the poems were originally published. That will help you build a list of reputable places to submit.
You don't need an agent right now, and looking for one will probably be discouraging because you'll hear more than the usual number of No's.
Here's a poem I love a lot. I was privileged to hear Miss Giovanni read this at Symphony Space a number of years ago. I hope you'll love it as much as I do.