I know poetry is technically non-fiction**. I have an idea to pitch a book that is humorous poems about parenthood with drawings (like Shel Silverstein for grown ups). Since it's poetry, would I query once the entire MS is completed, or would I send agents a book proposal similar to what would be sent for a NF MS?
From what I've seen, most agents don't rep poetry at all. Is it best to just submit to small presses directly?
I'm glad you asked this question because it gives me a chance to talk about a terrific new kind of poetry that's appealing to a whole new audience.
No, I'm not kidding.
There are a lot of folks posting poems on Instagram and building a fan base for their work.
This isn't the formal poetry published by Graywolf, FSG, Norton, Copper Canyon Press, etc.
The Instagram poet I'm familiar with is Christopher Poindexter.
If you're interested in publishing your work, getting it up on Instagram and building a follower base is the way to do it. Non-traditional poetry publishers are very interested in Instagram poets, but they don't assess the work so much as evaluate the platform. (Notice the number of followers Christopher Poindexter has.)
If you don't know how to post stuff on Instagram, or use hash tags effectively, that's the first thing to learn.
In other words, you don't query agents with your work, you post it and build a following then agents will come for you.
**PS Poetry isn't fiction or non-fiction. It's its own category.