What is the best place to submit poetry online? Just like poetry itself, the answer is often complex. Finding the right home for your poetry can a lot of time and research.
We’re here to help! In this article, we’ll share our 24 best suggestions for where to submit your poetry online. After that, we’ll share key tips to demystify the poetry publishing world, and we’ll finish with closing thoughts on the online poetry journal submission process.
24 of the Best Places to Submit Poetry Online
You will want to build a publication history and portfolio before attempting higher-tier journals. So, instead of writing a general list of the best places to submit poetry online, we’ve divided our list of online poetry journals into three categories, based on your own level of experience, publication history, and goals as a poet. In order, they are:
- Great first-publication journals: places to submit when you don’t have previous publications.
- Reputable online poetry journals: competitive journals to submit to when you have a prior publications list.
- High-level poetry journals to aspire for: journals at the summit of poetry that can create new opportunities for your writing career.
Now, let’s dive into the best journals for your online poetry submissions!
Places to Submit Poetry Online: Reputable First Publications
These journals will publish poetry from both new and established poets.
The following eight journals will publish poetry from both new and established poets alike. Any publication in these journals is a great achievement!
1. Thrush Poetry Journal
Thrush Poetry Journal is a bimonthly publication of “eclectic, moving, surprising” poetry. Named after the thrush, a bird with “the most beautiful voice in the world,” the magazine sponsors poets both new and established — just let your poems sing.
3Elements Literary Review posts a call for submissions each quarter. All poems have to involve the three elements that the journal chooses; for the Summer of 2020, the elements are “trapeze, pinprick, calico.” 3Elements publishes poems that combine these elements in effective and unusual ways, and this publication provides a great and challenging prompt.
Poetry has never been nerdier than over at FreezeRay! This journal specializes in pop culture poetry, publishing anything inspired by modern media, making it a unique place to submit poetry online. From video games to horror to modern film, let today’s media landscape prompt you into writing FreezeRay’s next great poetry feature.
4. Barren Magazine
Barren Magazine publishes monthly issues of literature in all genres. Their preferences lean toward poetry that is introspective, original, and participates in a larger literary conversation. Barren also puts out a fun selection of merchandise and has plans for future online poetry and fiction contests.
5. Ghost City Review
Ghost City Review, an offshoot of Ghost City Press, is regularly accepting poetry submissions from new and established writers. Their tastes are eclectic and embrace both the contemporary and the experimental. Ghost City also sponsors the literary community and remains active in uplifting other publications and keeping money inside the publishing world, so be sure to check out their online poetry submissions process as well as their free e-book series!
6. Rising Phoenix Review
Rising Phoenix Review loves poetry that is “visceral” with “stunning, concrete imagery.” Their tastes lean toward the contemporary, sponsoring poetry that uplifts diverse voices and imagines a better world. They are an offshoot of Rising Phoenix Press, which occasionally publishes poetry chapbooks as well.
7. L’Éphémère Review
L’Éphémère Review publishes poetry and prose that bends genres, styles, and forms. They enjoy works that examine the interplay of memory, truth, and perspective. Online poetry submissions open every quarter, and the journal also publishes micro-chapbooks.
8. Little Death Lit
Little Death Lit puts out quarterly publications with unique themes. They enjoy poetry that is macabre and gothic, as well as poems that are unconventional and play with the quarterly prompt. This is a great journal for seeing and interacting with new and emerging voices in poetry.
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Places to Submit Poetry Online: Reputable Journals
Once you’ve got a few publications under your belt, these online poetry journals could catapult your writing toward a larger audience.
Once you’ve got a few publications under your belt, you might have success with one of the following sites. A publication in any of these online poetry journals could catapult your writing toward a larger, more reputable audience!
9. Palette Poetry
Palette Poetry is among the best places to submit poetry online because it has options for everyone. For published writers seeking to highlight their already published work, Palette Poetry offers a “Previously Published Poem Prize.” Out of the poetry magazines that pay, Palette Poetry has the biggest pay-out, with first place being a whopping $2,500 cash prize plus publication; second place being a $300 cash prize plus publication; and third place being a $200 cash prize plus publication.
For experienced, unpublished writers, Palette regularly features poems online, and for those who are able to become “partner poets,” there is a ~$50 to $150 payout per poem. Palette also hosts a “Community Feedback Monthly Editorial” which gives new and experienced writers an opportunity to engage with—and get extremely valuable feedback from—other poets.
Rattle: Poetry is another great poetry magazine that pays. The journal puts out several popular contests and publication opportunities, including a monthly ekphrastic challenge, a weekly news-writing challenge, and an annual best poem prize. Payouts range from anywhere between $50-$200; if you’re the lucky winner of the Rattle Poetry Prize, this year’s payout is $15,000!
11. Wildness Journal
Wildness Journal, an offshoot of Platypus Press, publishes a quarterly journal for well-crafted, mystifying poems. Their tastes lean toward the highly literary, preferring works that are inventive and well-constructed. In addition to its journal for online poetry submissions, Platypus Press also publishes poetry manuscripts of at least 35 pages in length.
12. Adroit Journal
The Adroit Journal’s mission is to sponsor the next generation of poets, so their resources are often dedicated to youth poets and college-age writers. They seek works that are bold, eclectic, obscure, and daring. In addition to their poetry publications, The Adroit Journal also offers scholarships and awards for young and emerging writers.
13. Frontier Poetry
As the name suggests, Frontier Poetry publishes poetry on the frontiers of craft and language. The journal admires poetry that’s both contemporary and classical, as long as the poem advances the craft of poetry itself. Frontier is especially friendly toward new and emerging poets, and it hosts several contests every year with awards ranging from $100-$300, making them a great poetry magazine that pays.
14. Split Lip Mag
Split Lip Mag loves honesty, pop culture, and voice. Submissions for their journal open bimonthly, and published poems are often distinct and authentic. Split Lip is another poetry magazine that pays — published poets can expect a $50 payment per poem!
8Poems publishes eight poems a month. No more, no less. Naturally, a poem with such a tight publication schedule is fairly competitive, but the journal has a preference toward poetry that is narrative, emotive, and plays with words.
16. Winter Tangerine
Rounding out the list of more competitive poetry journals to submit to, Winter Tangerine publishes poetry that is fierce, loud, and unapologetic. They prefer poems that are unrestrained in their politics and envision a better society for all.
*The journal is on a hiatus for 2020, but be sure to tune in when they reopen for submissions.
Places to Submit Poetry Online: The Summit of Poetry
Every poet aspires to have their work featured in these exclusive, competitive journals.
Every poet aspires to have their work featured in one of the following journals. These online poetry journals are rather exclusive, sponsoring the voices of poets who have an extensive collection of previously published work. That’s not to say you shouldn’t consider these journals for your online poetry submissions; but don’t be too disappointed if they send you a rejection letter — these publications are a reach.
17. Poetry Magazine
Published through the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Magazine is the oldest monthly poetry journal in the English-speaking world. Poetry Magazine receives over 150,000 submissions each year, making them a prized jewel of publication credits. The journal has a leaning toward traditional craft and academic styles, though more recent publications have sponsored eclectic styles.
18. The New Yorker
The New Yorker is at the forefront of culture and has been since 1925. They publish two poems every Monday and seek work that is fresh and emotive. The New Yorker also receives a huge number of online poetry submissions annually, which is why poets often wait 6 months before hearing back; nonetheless, a publication here is a high achievement.
AGNI, the official literary journal of Boston University, loves poetry that doesn’t care about “what poems should do.” They publish works that are innovative and evolving, yet still cogent in both craft and language. AGNI’s reading period opens up on September 1st and runs until May 31st.
20. The Kenyon Review
The Kenyon Review, a print and online poetry journal out of Kenyon College, publishes craft-focused, language-advancing poetry. On top of its well-respected journal, The Kenyon Review is an active participant in the literary community, regularly hosting workshops, fellowships, internships, and other programs designed to educate the next generation of literary citizens.
Ploughshares, produced out of Emerson College, puts out quarterly publications of highly literary poetry. Submissions to Ploughshares should engage in the contemporary literary conversation and be submitted between June 1st and January 15th.
22. Harvard Review
Harvard Review looks for poetry that is interested in literary techniques. The journal sponsors both emerging and established voices to, as the journal puts it, publish “writers who will be famous next to writers who already are.” Harvard Review reopens for online poetry submissions on August 1st.
23. Lit Hub
Literary Hub, commonly called Lit Hub, publishes prominent voices in the literary world. What makes Lit Hub unique is that they aren’t “open for submissions” like most journals; rather, they partner with other journals to sponsor important works of poetry, prose, and literary criticism. Lit Hub also publishes new works, though they tend to seek out poets rather than respond to submissions.
24. The American Scholar
Finishing up our list of great poetry journals to submit to, The American Scholar is a publication well-known for its business, science, and current issues commentary, but they also accept poetry submissions, which are usually published in the “Web Only” edition of the magazine. The American Scholar is tough competition, but is also one of the best poetry magazines that pay. Web Only submission pay-outs can be as high as $250.
Tips for Navigating the World of Online Poetry Submissions
Finding a home for your poem can be frustrating — there are so many homes to choose from! What’s more, many journals don’t allow simultaneous submissions or take weeks to review your poem, so some poets spend months finding publication for their work. Finding the right journal that’s accepting poetry submissions is daunting, to say the least.
It’s important to understand the poetry submissions process. Most importantly, no poem is guaranteed publication. Poetry reviewers look over hundreds of submissions for each publication, and they often have to make tough decisions about great poems. Good, publishable poems receive rejections all the time, often because a journal has a finite amount of space to publish each month.
Finally, while we think these 24 poetry journals are the best on the net, there are thousands more. You can find a full directory of poetry journals at the literary magazines page on Poets & Writers!
Despite the competitive nature of online poetry journals, you can take specific steps to improve your chances of publication.
Despite the competitive nature of online poetry journals, there are specific steps you can take to improve your chances of publication. Do all of the following before you submit poetry to a journal.
Review the Journal’s Past Publications
It’s good practice to read what the journal has published in the past. Though many online poetry journals accept a wide range of styles and forms, poetry editors still have preferences for what kind of poetry they like to read and publish. Examine the journal’s past publications with a critical eye, and consider whether or not your poem fits among the journal’s ranks.
Follow Formatting Guidelines
When poetry magazines accept online submissions, they often include formatting guidelines alongside their submission rules. It’s best to follow these guidelines, as well as general MLA formatting rules. Use 1-inch margins, a 12-point serif font, and double space stanzas. Taking the time to properly format demonstrates a seriousness about your poetry, whereas unformatted poems may not receive proper attention.
Perfect The Poem’s Title
The journal’s reader is looking for something that grabs their attention right away. A well-titled poem with a stand-out first line will be far more eye-catching than an untitled poem with a slow start. Remember, the reader goes through hundreds of submissions every month, so poetry submissions should stand out from the beginning!
Shoot for the Moon, not the Stars
Lastly, it’s important to note that not all poetry journals are made equal. The poetry world is competitive, and poets often have to secure publications from lesser-known journals before they attempt publication through a reputable magazine.
Closing Thoughts on Online Poetry Magazine Submissions
The publishing world is tough, fast, and competitive. The internet has expanded poetry’s readership and writership; this is a good thing, but with so many other voices, it can be hard to know where to submit your poetry to add your voice to the conversation. You may encounter one rejection, five rejections, or fifty rejections before you find a home for your poem. Don’t let this deter you.
Often, a rejection of your poetry submission has nothing to do with the quality of your work. Rather, poetry editors have a limited amount of space per publication, and they look to publish poems that, when read together, create a bigger conversation. A rejection can simply mean your poems didn’t work for that month’s issue, for reasons completely out of your control.
Don’t think of a rejection letter as a “rejection,” think of it as: there is a better home for my poetry.
Finally, poetry journals are subjective in their treatment of the poetry submissions they receive. After all, journals are run by humans, and although many humans try to be objective in their tastes and preferences, objectivity is impossible in the arts. Don’t think of a rejection letter as a “rejection.” Think of it as follows: there are other places to submit poetry, and there is a better home for my poetry.
Whatever your level of experience and goals for your poetry, the instructors at Writers.com can help you perfect your poems and find new homes for them. Take a look at our upcoming online poetry writing courses and one-to-one coaching options, and take the next step in your poetry writing journey.