Submissions: Why You Should Not Change Your Poetic Voice
As a writer you have probably submitted your work to literary publications—or have at least considered doing so. Literary journals and magazines are incredible places to get exposure for your pieces. However, it is necessary to make a careful selection. Not all literary publications are the ideal fit for your writing. Before submitting, keep one thing in mind: you should seek publications that match your style, and never the other way around. When you write in a style that is not your own, the writing will often feel empty. To find a publication that is right for you, do plenty of research and make a list. For instance, if your writing has a dark feel, find out which periodicals publish that style.
With submissions, rejections arise. And that is perfectly natural. There are editors with personal tastes behind any journal. As a result, even the submission process is subjective. They are looking for good writing but there are other reasons that they need to consider. So, if you receive a rejection it does not mean that your writing is bad. A poem can be rejected for motives that have nothing to do with the poem itself.
Submitting involves a lot of work and is an action of great vulnerability. If you’re new to the process or are on the fence, here are some advantages of having your work published to keep in mind, followed by a list of journals and magazines to consider:
Benefits of Publication
- You have the opportunity to work with an editor which will improve your writing;
- Being published reveals that you are able to work with editors and that you are a receptive person;
- Publication in literary journals help your curriculum become more notable—no matter your background field;
- You connect with fellow writers and build a network.
Journals and Magazines to Consider
3Elements is a journal that is especially partial to “edgy writing that offers insight into darkness.” They post a call for submissions every quarter, each with a different prompt; submitted poems must contain all three elements that the journal selects. For this fall’s submissions (due Nov. 30), the elements are “loop,” “ghost,” and “hibiscus.”
Arc Poetry Magazine looks for “poetry that is woozy, cunning, shearing and wildlike, and prose that offers new perspectives on the verse you thought you knew.” The Canadian magazine has looser guidelines than most, accepting rolling submissions eight months out of the year “on any subject and in any form.” If accepted, they offer $50 per page.
The Believer is a bimonthly art, culture, and literature magazine. Poetry submissions are currently closed (reopening date TBD), but they are accepting applications for their Shearing fellowship. If you have at least one published book out in the world and are interested in working with a community of passionate writers and scholars, this working fellowship based out of Las Vegas may be for you!
Epoch Magazine, edited by Cornell University, publishes cartoons, essays, fiction, graphic art, poetry and screenplays. Epoch considers poetry in all forms, including the long poem. They offer a minimum of $50 per poem.
Little Death Lit publishes quarterly issues. Like 3Element, they propose a theme for each issue—the current theme being “Life in Limbo.” They love poetry that is gothic and macabre.
Rattle is an independent literary magazine with a mission to promote the practice of poetry and revive it as an art form. They are open to submissions of any form, basing their selections instead on the uniqueness and emotional effect of the work and noting that “only those that are unique, insightful, and musical stand out—regardless of style.” There is a monetary compensation of $100 per poem for online-only work and $200 for print publication.
The New England Review is a magazine that is especially dedicated to seeking out new and emerging voices, encouraging and welcoming poetry submissions from writers of every gender, nationality, and religion. Accepted writers will receive $20 per page.
For more ideas on where to submit your work, check out our roundup of poetry contests to enter this fall.