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How to Submit Your Poetry to Literary Journals

Updated on July 25, 2018
Laura335 profile image

I am the author of three middle grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.

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Introduction

If you want to be a published poet, it's a good idea to submit your work to literary journals. Not only will this build up your resume, but you get to see your name in print and possibly even earn a few dollars from your writing. However, this can be a tedious and overwhelming ordeal to a new writer. It took me hours of research and years of perfecting my submission process before I became comfortable with it. Submitting your work is part skill, part lottery, and part determination. Below is the process that I use to submit my work along with tips, templates, and a list of poetry journals that I submit to regularly.

Publication Guidelines

Every journal has its own set of guidelines. Most are similar guidelines, such as the number of pieces to send in per submission, their submission dates, and how to submit. Some journals have their own submission manager on their website. Others prefer that you submit via email. Some prefer attachments while others want your cover letter and work submitted directly in the body of the email. Even if you choose from the list of poetry journals below, be sure to check each website before you submit to make sure their guidelines have not changed. It is important to follow the rules to ensure that your submission does not get looked over. The competition is fierce enough.

These journals allow for free, electronic submissions and, unless otherwise noted, accept simultaneous submissions (meaning you can submit your poems to other journals while they are considering them). If this sounds like a lot of work, remember that not too long ago it cost about $2 to snail mail every submission and include a self-addressed stamped envelope so that they could send you a rejection letter. Electronic submissions are so much easier and cheaper in the long run.


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Recommended Literary Journals

521 Magazine

Weird poems and stories. Strange, odd, bizarre, psychotic. 3-6 poems, short stories or both. Fiction under 2,000 words in a word doc. Put a letter Q in the title. Payment in copies. Feb 2-June 12.

521magazine@gmail.com


Abyss and Apex

Email: abyssandapex@gmail.com

Copy submissions into body of email. No simultaneous or multiple submissions. Indicate type of submission in body along with title of submission.


A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Year round. Submit on site with bio. Up to 5 poems. Year round. 10-30 days. Pay: 1 copy.


AGNI

Online submission manager. Response: 2-4 months Pay: 6 copies and small monetary payment.

Fiction/poetry/essays/reviews/interview. No word limits.

Fiction: 1 story ($10/page). Send as attachments. Double space.

Poetry: 5 poems ($20/page). Submit in body of email.

September 1- May 31


Adanna

Single file attachment: adannasubmissions@yahoo.com

No prev. published. 6 poems or 2000 words of prose. Simultaneous accepted.

Contact info and 3-4 line bio. 4-8 weeks response. Check online for submission dates.

Pay: 1 copy


Better: Culture and Lit.

Simultaneous accepted


Black Warrior Review

submit every 6 months. 3-5 months response. No prev. published. Payment in copies + nominal fee. Submit on site: 5 poems in 1 doc with the titles separated by commas in “submission title” field.


Blast Furnace


Blue Lake Review

Use Submittable on site.

Short bio in CL. 5 poems.


The Boiler

Submit on site. 3-5 poems. Lyrical. CL with 3-5 sentence bio.


Bone Bouquet

5 pages poetry


Boxcar Poetry Review

3-5 poems. Simultaneous okay. No pay. Submit on site. See site for submission periods.


Broad!

check site for submission dates. 12 weeks response. Poetry: 50 lines or fewer. 5 entries/issue. PDF or Word Document. See site for submission dates (Jan-December).

broadzine@gmail.com


Calyx

Oct. 1-December 31

Poetry: 6 poems, Prose: 5,000 words

Use submissions manager on site.

Simultaneous accepted.

Pay: copies + 1 volume subscription following that issue.

Will take book reviews – choose from list on site.


Chagrin River Review

1-5 poems in single file. Submit on site. Brief bio.


Cleaver Magazine

See site for submission dates (year round). 2-4 weeks. Bio. Submit on site (up to 5 poems).


Columbia

5 pages. March 1-Oct. 31. Submit online. Payment in copies.


Common Ground Review

submissions@cgreview.org. Email one attachment. Poetry under 61 lines. UP to 3 poems. See site for submission dates. Pay: 1 copy.


Conclave: A Journal of Character

free e-copies. Submit on site. Poems 1,000 words or less.


Contrary

Submit on site. Use submission form. Poetry/Fiction/Commentary/other. Include word count. Last name in file name. Accepts year round.

Pay: $20 via check or Paypal.


The Doctor T.J. Eckleberg Review

Fiction: 4,000 words (closer to 1,500).

Poetry: up to 5 poems

Will consider previously published. Submit on site.

Response: 1 month

Pay: 5 cents/word and 1 copy in annual issue. Not monthly.


Earthshine

Website: http://www.ruminations.us/esSubmission.htm

Pasted into the email. No simultaneous or published submissions.

Poetry: 1-6 poems twice/year

Payment: two copies

Response: 1 month


Falling Star

Up to 5 pieces per issue.

Poetry: 5-30 lines of poetry preferred about people, places, moments in time we’ve all experienced or hope we never have to. 7-10 pieces/ published issue. Fill out submissions page on website.

Pay: 2 copies and nominal pay.


Florida Review

Reads year round. SASE, prose, poetry, visual art (paper photos or CD)

Poetry: 5 poems.

Fiction: 1 story/essay (double spaced). Up to 15 pages.

August – May

Include cover letter with name, address, phone, email, titles. Simultaneous accepted. Submit on site.


Flyway

September 1- May 1

SASE for reply. Environment-based themes preferred. Online submission manager.

Fiction: 1 story to 5,000 words

Short Short stories: 3 short shorts

Poetry: Up to 5 poems.

Non-fiction: up to 7,000 words.

Response: up to four months

Payment: in copies


Four Way Review

5 poems in doc file, CL. Year round. 60 days response. Submit on site.


Glass

Sept 1-May 31

glasspoetry@yahoo.com

Put NAME + SUBMISSION in subject line. No attachments. 4 poems. Any length. CL and bio. Indicate general submission or theme. 4-6 months response.


Glimmer Train Stories

Email: info@glimmertrain.com

Editor: Linda Burmeister Davie. Stories: 1,200-8,000 words ($500/story) January, April, July, October. Up to three stories per reading month. Response: 12 weeks.


Gulf Coast

Typed, double spaced. Paginated. Name, address, phone on page 1. Title on other pages. Indicate editor (poetry, fiction, etc.). Use online manager. Check online for submission periods.

Fiction – double spaced. Up to 7,000 words. Name, address, phone and email on first page. Title on subsequent pages.

Poetry: 3-5 poems. Name, address, phone, email each page.

Pay: $30/poem. $20/page of prose up to $150.


Indigest

Online manager. See site for submission dates. 3-6 poems.


Jubilat

Sept 1-April 1. Use online manager. 3-4 poems.



Lavender Review

6 unpublished poems or 6 images (.jpg)

email: lavenderreview@gmail.com


The MacGuffin

Email: macguffin@schoolcraft.edu

Poetry: up to 400 lines. Up to 5 poems.

Fiction: 5,000 words. Include word count. Double spaced. 1 story.

Payment: two copies.

No previously published. Titles and bio. On cover. No staples. Name/email/address on each page. Word count. Simultaneous accepted. Email submissions.

Response: 8-12 weeks.


Main Street Rag

Word attachment to: editor@mainstreetrag.com

Name and shipping address in file. Genre in subject line.

Poetry: 6 pages 3-6 weeks response

No prev. published or simultaneous submissions

Fiction: 6,000 words max. 6-8 weeks response.



Mid-American Review

Fiction: 1 story to 6,000 words

Poetry: 6 poems max, no length limit

Submit via online manager.

Simultaneous accepted year round.



Mudlark

Email: mudlark@unf.edu

University of North Florida/Department of English

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road.

South Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645

Editor: William Slaughter

Online journal of poetry and non-fiction essays on poetry. Electronic journal.

Response: 1-30 days

Poems with news in them. Prefer no mult. Submissions.



Pacifica and Meridian

$15-$30.Year round. Original, unpublished.

Simultaneous accepted. Header: name, title, date, page #’s. 3 poems.


Pear Noir

Email: pearnoir@gmail.com

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry up to 7,500 words.

February 1st-May 31st

August 1st – November 30th

Simultaneous accepted. No previously published. Name and title in subject line.

Address, short bio and publication history in the body.

Pay: $5.00 and a postcard and 1 copy.

Response: 2-3 months.


Pedestal Magazine

Email: pedestalmagazine@aol.com

Poetry: up to 6 poems ($40/poem)

Fiction: up to 6,000 words (5 cents/word)

Go online for submission dates.

Response: 1-2 months


Prime Number

Submit on site. Payment: 1 copy. 3 poems.


Raleigh

Use submission manager. Simultaneous accepted.

Poetry: 4-5 poems. Name and address on each. Cover letter.

Flash fiction: up to 1,200 words.

Art: PDF file.

Pay: $10/accepted title.

Poems already published: poetry@theraleighreview.org In the subject heading of your email, please include the following:[Last Name - Fortnightly Poem] If the poem was published previously, please indicate both the place as well as the issue number and/or the date in the body of your email.

Year round.

submit@raleighquarterly.com


Rattle

Email: submissions@rattle.com

Year round. Simultaneous accepted. No previously published. Online reviews. Paste submission in the body. Title of email “(Name)-submission.” Bio. – who you are and why you love poetry. Indicate simultaneous.

Poetry: unlimited.

Payment: 2 copies.

Response: 4-8 weeks


Room

No prev. published. Simutaneous accepted.

Submit on their site.

CL – prev. published/awards/programs/contact info/word count.

Poetry: 5 poems. Fiction: 3,500 words.


Smartish Pace

Email: sppoems@gmail.com

Name, address, email, phone in upper corner of each poem.

Only first and last name in the subject line. Body includes name, address, email, poem titles, bio. Poems attached in word document. Contact info. At the top and bio. At the bottom.

Poetry – up to 6 poems. Any line length.

Bio – publication credits, occupation, born/live, awards, grants, edu.

Simultaneous accepted. Send email if accepted. SASE for reply.

1 submission per year. Year round submissions.

Response: 8 months

Pay: 1 copy


Stoneboat

Use submittable on website. 3-5 poems, CL, bio. 1 copy. See site for reading periods.


Tar River Poetry

Email: TarRiverPoetry@gmail.com

Email submissions only. Pasted into the email or .doc attachment. Subject line: “(Name)-submission”. Go online for submission dates.

Poetry: up to 5 ($25/page and 2 copies)

September 1 – May 1


Third Coast

Online submission manager: www.thirdcoastmagazine.com/submissions

Simultaneous accepted.

Poetry and prose separate. Author’s name, address, email, phone on page 1. Page numbers, author’s name/title on all pages.

Response: 4 months

Poetry: typed, single spaced. Up to 5 poems. Max. 15 pages. Garamond 12 pt. font.

Pay: 2 copies and subscription


Toasted Cheese

Email: submit@toasted-cheese.com

Fiction, flash fiction, creative nonfiction poetry. Paste into email body. Include cover letter with short bio. Go online for submission dates. No simultaneous submissions. Subject line: (genre) submission (name)

Flash: 500 max

Poetry: up to 5.


Torrid

3 poems + brief bio. Submit on site. 8 weeks response.


Willow Springs

Closed June 1-Aug. 31

8 weeks response. Pay: 2 copies. Submit online. 3-5 poems. 1 PDF.


Witness

Fiction: 1,000-10,000 words. 1 story. ($25/1,500 words)

Poetry: 5 poems. Stanza breaks double spaced. ($25/poem) Contact info on page 1. No previously published. Simultaneous accepted. Online manager.

Response: 2 weeks.


Workers Write

$5-$50. 500-5,000 words. See site for themes and email addresses.


The Writing Disorder

poetry@thewritingdisorder.com

5-8 poems. Email submission. CL with publication credits. Word attachment 3 months response.


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Create A Cover Letter

Most journals like to have a cover letter with every submission. Keep it to one page and describe your writing history, publication history (include any school publications or blogs that you have posted online for free if you haven't been published by a journal yet), and explain what you are submitting. Add any specifics requested on the journal’s website (such as the names of your poems). Below is a template that I use with every submission.


Sample Cover Letter

(Name)

(Address)

(Date)


To the Poetry Editor(s) of _____________ :

Background (schooling, writing background, writing interests).

(Publication History)

Enclosed are # poems for your consideration. I would like to acknowledge that I do plan on submitting these pieces to several publications and will notify you immediately if any are accepted elsewhere. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


(Name)

(Phone Number)

(Email)

(Website or Author Page)

Document Your Submissions

Once you have submitted your work, you have to keep track of your submissions so that you know what pieces you have submitted and where. I have submitted to some journals multiple times with no accepted pieces. I have submitted to other journals just once and been accepted. If you plan to submit more than once to a journal, you have to keep track of which pieces you are submitting to each one. Below is a chart that I use to record every submission that I send out. I even color code the submissions so that I know which ones have been rejected, which ones have been published, and which ones are still out there.

Example:

Color code:

red: rejected

blue: accepted

green: sent out

violet: needs to be resubmitted (problem with an attachment, email address or submissions manager)

orange: publication out of business


Sample of Poetry Submissions Chart

Name of Publication
Titles of Works
Date Submitted
Accepted/Rejected
Date
Poetry Magazine
Poem 1, Poem 2, Poem 3, Poem 4, Poem 5
January 1, 2014
Rejected
February 15, 2014
Poetry Journal
Poem 1, Poem 2, Poem 3
January 1, 2014
Rejected
March 1, 2014
Poetry Quarterly
Poem 1, Poem 2, Poem 3, Poem 4
January 1, 2014
Accepted
March 15, 2014

Because I'm super organized, I also keep a hard copy version of each submission on a handwritten chart in case anything ever happens to the one on my computer. After sending out few dozen submissions, I began to have a hard time figuring out which poems had already been submitted to each journal. It took hours to sort through all of my previous submissions and track which poems had gone out to a particular publication. So, I made a second chart where I list the name of each journal and the poems I have submitted to each one. I alphabetized the journals in a Word Document, and I add to them with each submission. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s even more work to figure out which poems to submit every time you want to send out more pieces.

Keeping track of these things as you go keeps you better organized and more efficient. I can also see at a glance how many poems I have submitted to each journal to decide which ones I should try again and which ones just don’t seem to like my work. When I see those, I take a break from them, at least until I write some new poems.

Most journals suggest that you purchase a copy of their journal so that you can see what kind of writing they accept. This can be costly, but there are ways around it. Some sites post sample poems on their website to give you a feel for their content. You can also go to thrift stores and resale shops to buy old copies at a fraction of the cost. You can even ask for subscription as a birthday or Christmas gift.

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Some Things to Consider

Don’t expect a response in the event of a decline. Some journals receive too many submissions to respond to them all. If you don’t hear from them in six months, they probably didn’t accept them.

Do not withdraw your work, especially if you are sending in simultaneous submissions. I read a poet who said that one of her poems was accepted for publication over a year after she submitted it. I didn’t think this was possible until it happened to me. One year after submitting my work, I had a poem accepted for publication. It’s rare, but it’s satisfying.

Don’t expect your best poems to be the ones that bite. I myself have no idea what draws people to the work that gets accepted. Some pieces that I consider my best work have never been published while others that I threw in just for good measure have been accepted right away. There is no logic behind it. Just keep anything worth submitting in the mix, and hope for the best.

Don’t expect overnight success. I submitted poetry for about three years until I was accepted into a journal that wasn’t college-based. I was warned about this ahead of time while in college. One professor said to expect about one accepted piece for every 100 poems you submit, and he was a well-respected poet. The biggest thrill of writing is getting published and having someone else say that your work deserves to be in print and read by others. The competition for this feeling is fierce so there’s no other way to achieve this without giving it your all and getting rejected over and over again until you strike oil. Once you do get that first acceptance letter or email, you crave more of the euphoric feeling that you get from being published, and you'll be willing to go through the rejection process all over again.

Don’t expect to get rich – or even to get paid. My poetry has been published 10 times, and I was only paid once for my work, a whole $10.00. Starting out, most journals are small and can only afford to pay you in copies of the journal that you are in. Consider this before submitting. If you want more than to see your name in print, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Once you build up some publication history, you can start to submit to the journals that pay. I broke away from poetry when I started writing novels so my publication history in the poetry department has been less frequent. This just goes to show that you have to keep at it in order to gain any ground in the publishing industry. So, if this is not what you enjoy doing, get out while you can or switch to a different genre.

Don’t shell out money for postage. I specifically choose journals above that don’t have a reading fee or a snail mail requirement. I’m happy to say that there are so many publications out there that allow for free, electronic submissions that you don’t have to waste your money the way I did when I was first out of college and trying to figure out the publishing process. The competition is fierce no matter where you submit. Why should you have to pay for a likely rejection these days?


Publication History

Once some of my pieces were accepted for publication, I created a new Word Document where I kept track of all of my publications. Some journals even ask for a separate document with this information. It is also useful to have on hand when submitting to other genres, such as novel and agent submissions. A list of publication credits is often requested, and keeping it on standby ahead of time gives you one less thing to prepare when submitting your work. Make sure you include the name of the journal, the title of the piece, and the date of publication. I like my list to be in descending order with the most recent publication at the top of the list.

Journals Where I Have Been Published

Name of Publication
Date
Title of Poem
Torrid
June 17, 2013
First Day of High School
James Dickey
May 13, 2013
Unsold Aquarium Fish
Lavender Review
August 2, 2012
When I Used to Like Books
Blast Furnace Press
May 16, 2012
Crossword
Rune Literary Journal
March 29, 2012
you once rode your bike down devil’s hill
Falling Star Magazine
August 26, 2010
A Driving Lesson from My New Parents, Two Days Old
Voices from the Garage
June 12, 2010
I Met You On Your Worst Day
Rune
March 18, 2010
The Closet

Conclusion

In the end, I hope that this guide has given you a realistic yet encouraging view of the small publishing world. Your quest for publication starts here, and it’s typically a long road ahead. Don’t get discouraged or hold tight to any statistics or rumors that you have heard. There is a journal that is right for your work out there somewhere. You just have to hit the right place at the right time. It can be discouraging, but it pays off, especially if your main goal is to see your name in print. Good luck, and feel free to share your publishing tips and stories below.

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    • Laura335 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Smith 

      3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Thanks for reading! Good luck!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      You deliver some detailed information here thanks. I will probably avoid the psychotic poetry but I might try my hand and the weird, strange and bizarre poetry!

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 

      3 years ago

      Thanks for the list. I write a lot of poetry but sometimes I don't know where to send it! Congratulations on all of your publications!

    • Laura335 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Smith 

      3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Thanks! I hope she goes for it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 years ago from USA

      I could just hug you for this! My daughter is a very talented poet and short story writer and I'd love to encourage her by showing her that she might get them published. Voted up and sharing for all those poets out there in Hubland!

    • Laura335 profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura Smith 

      3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Thanks! Good luck!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for your "realistic yet encouraging view" of poetry publishing. I'm bookmarking this page as a reference. You have been very helpful. Thanks also for sharing from your own experience.

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