1. You read extensively, sometimes for pleasure but also to increase your understanding of how good poems work. You know you can’t be a writer if you can’t read.
2. You belong to at least one writers’ group or forum (on or off line) where you can give constructive criticism and receive feedback on your own poems which is not just congratulatory. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t join groups that congratulate everyone just for writing something, but recognise that these groups are not going to develop your writing and push you towards publication.
3. You have gained real publication credits, not just vanity presses.
4. You have selected 60 pages worth of your poems that complement each other. The poems you have left out could be compiled into a second volume.
5. You know which magazines will review your style and type of poetry and hence know where to target review copies that will actually get reviewed. If you’ve followed point 1 and have been busy reading as many poetry magazines as you can get hold of, this will be easy.
6. You will not fire off accusations of defamation and threaten litigation if you don’t like the review. If a review describes you as a “new writer”, check out the reviewer’s own publishing history. A reviewer with 20+ years of getting regularly published in magazines is entitled to call someone with 2 years’ experience a “new writer”. Reviewers are entitled to their own opinions and are not obliged to praise your work or write a glowing review. You are entitled to disagree, but think very carefully about the consequences of making your disagreement public.
If you can tick all the above, go ahead and publish.