Please actually read all of this before you send us anything. If your submission doesn’t follow these guidelines, it will not be read by our editors. If you don’t follow the submission guidelines, No One Is Happy, and what fun is that?
We publish lyrical essays, poetry book reviews, and poetry. We might be up for something unique that defies categorization that’s 1 – 5 pages long. We do not publish fiction of any kind.
While we strive to keep ourselves open stylistically, the editors are generally uninterested in the following things:
Form poems in which the form takes precedence over the content. Seriously, if you’re going to send us form poems make sure your ballad’s rhyme scheme does not resemble an anvil chorus clanging along, and your sestina end words have a point other than repetition. Hell bent on sending form poems? Better think Maxine Kumin.
Formatting that does not add to content. If you’re going to make us spend hours adjusting spacing and/or alignment or adding footnotes, it had better be important enough that we want to risk carpal tunnel to bring your vision to life. This also applies to “fun” fonts (they aren’t) and center justification (it’s cheesy). If your poem only works on letter-sized paper, we can’t do it justice on a web page.
Anything insular enough to be unintelligible to persons outside the author’s head.
Anything that would make a great greeting card or after-school special script.
Travelogues of foreign countries that serve to illuminate the angst of well-off white people against “exotic” backgrounds.
Any writing generated solely to show the upstanding-ness of the author by his or her emphatic demonstration of basic human empathy. We are not interested in giving you a cookie for failing to be a jerk to others.
Didactic, strident professions of any “-ism”. Preaching to the choir. It’s cool that you believe what you believe, but we like our persuasion personal, nuanced, and complicated. If you’re spouting the party line verbatim, we’ve heard it before.
Hateful speech against a person or group. This generally also includes bitter break-up poems whose sole purpose is to demonstrate what an asshole your ex was. They may well have been a cheating, lying so-and-so, but we don’t find their black-hatted turpitude that interesting in a literary sense.
Snobbery. Masturbatory indulgence in cleverness for the sake of cleverness. Name-dropping and extraneous references that do not illuminate the subject. Attempts to justify your student loan payments by making sure everyone knows how damn smart you are. If you require three made-up words to state your thesis, we’ll pass.
Cheap, mechanical erotica. Listing body parts makes us yawn. The objectification of women pisses us off.
Transparent, uncredited imitations of another writer. The original is generally better. What do you have to say?
Work we are emphatically interested in:
Work that is actually good. Exciting. Head-top-removing. Expressing the inexpressible or illuminating the ordinary with a rare and textured light.
New & funky language remixes.
Unusual points of view.
Synthesis of disparate elements & cognitive dissonance: Hurt our brains! Hurt ‘em good! Uniquely personal takes on unimaginably huge subjects.
Quirky humor, or, for that matter, quirky sadness. We like quirky across the range of human experience.
How you love what you love with all your twisted little heart. Weird science poems? Love it! A treatise on the use of Jungian Archetypes in anime? We’re in! How the Great Vowel Shift affects our interpretation of Shakespeare? Sure! Try to explain your particular area of geekiness to a general audience so well we all fall in love with it through you.
Send (1) email to email@example.com with the subject header “Submission: <Your Name Here>, <Type of Work>, <Title(s) of Work>” e.g. “Submission: Jane Doe, Essay, “Ode to an Axlotl”. If you would like to send both an essay and poems, please send them as separate submissions.
Do not submit more than one essay and/or one group of poems per six-month period. Deluging us with email makes for cranky editors, who are likely to not publish you out of sheer spite. Repeat offenders will be banished to the spam folder. Also, please don’t add us to your mailing list unless we expressly ask to be added. Do not send us solicitations.
Include a short bio and cover letter at the top of your email. We do not need to see: your entire C.V.; your educational history; your list of tour stops and co-features; blurbs about your work from friends, newspapers, or the nominally famous; an exhaustive inventory of every journal in which you have previously been published. Maybe tell us what you had for breakfast? Or that you have an awesome collection of antique shoelaces?
Make sure your submission includes no more than (3) three poems or (1) one essay. Paste your work in the body of the email with a horizontal line between poems. Attach (1) one MS Word, Open Office, Google Doc, or Adobe Acrobat file so we can check the formatting if we’re interested. We prefer to read submissions in 12pt. font (at least one of us needs bifocals)—something boring but serviceable like Arial, Times New Roman, or Helvetica.
No simultaneous submissions or previously published work. We define previously published work as work that has appeared online in a public forum, web site, or blog; or in print.
We ask for the right to publish your work online, archive the work as published, and to reprint published poems in future anthologies. Authors whose work is reprinted in an anthology will receive a payment of (1) one copy of the anthology in which their work appears.
It’s fine to send us a query email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven’t heard from us after 30 days. Please allow us a few days to respond, we may be off Having A Life.
Until such time as we are not broke, we can only pay in publication credits, ego boo(sts), and our gratitude.