Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in Poetry Northwest, the region’s oldest literary magazine. After more than 60 years, we remain committed to publishing the best in contemporary poetry, especially work willing to take risks and push readers to the emotional and intellectual edge of what poetry makes possible. Our new editor, Keetje Kuipers, recently spoke with Poets & Writers about her editorial vision for the magazine:

I’m interested in accepting poems that I struggle with, that I don’t understand, that I might even fundamentally disagree with in terms of either their craft or simply the argument that they’re making about the state of the world. I’m excited to take those chances and to make myself uncomfortable and make readers a little uncomfortable.

We are also staunch advocates for our writers, and poems published in our magazine often appear later in the pages of the Pushcart Prize and Best American anthologies.

We strive to go beyond encouraging submissions from diverse voices. Our mission to employ equitable editorial practices runs parallel to our mission to publish the most exciting poetry we can find. Take a look at a recent issue and you’ll see that we stand behind both these commitments.

Poetry Northwest is published semi-annually in June and December. We also publish new work (poetry, reviews, interviews and poetry-related essays) on our website, to supplement and extend our print edition. All work submitted to us during our reading period will be considered for the print edition, the website, or both.

We do not accept work that has been previously published. This includes on personal blogs and social media.


We welcome unsolicited submissions of poetry, original or in translation, twice a year: October 1 – November 30 and February 1 – February 28. Please note that our monthly submission limit for poetry is 300. Once we reach that limit, submissions will be closed for the remainder of that month. If you do not see the option to submit poetry, we have reached that limit. We encourage you to try us again at the beginning of the following month.

Our cap is usually reached within a couple days. In recognization of the fact that that is an equity and access issue, we gladly accept submissions from poets who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color after we hit our cap in the months of October, November, February, and March. A submission category for BIPOC poets only will be available throughout those months after our submission cap has been reached. All other submission guidelines apply.

Please submit no more than four poems at a time. Combine all poems into a single document and upload as a Word file. If you wish to submit a PDF, please include it as a second file.

Out of respect for our volunteer readers, we request that you include a content warning if your work references or depicts personal or historical trauma (including violence, genocide, assault, abuse, etcetera). Please use the format “CW: ______” at the bottom of your cover letter.

Poetry Northwest is not currently accepting unsolicited work in translation.

If you are an emerging writer, please consider submitting poems to Presenting, an annual feature published in the Winter & Spring issue of the magazine in which Senior Editor Xavier Cavazos introduces readers to a poet whose work has never before been featured in a nationally distributed print journal. All work submitted in this category will be considered for general publication even if not selected for the Presenting feature.


We welcome unsolicited submissions of book reviews or essays all year.

We are currently accepting queries for Land/Form, an essay series edited by Publisher and Contributing Editor Kevin Craft that explores topics in geo-poetics. Read the first installment of the series here.


The 2022 James Welch Prize is open for submissions from December 1 2021January 31 2022. Please visit here for details and submission guidelines.

Additional Guidelines

Simultaneous submissions are accepted in all categories with advance indication and prompt notification upon acceptance elsewhere. Please send a message to us through Submittable if any of your work has been accepted elsewhere. An email to us is not sufficient notice.

We accept submissions via our online submission system only. Unsolicited work sent via mail will be recycled; unsolicited work sent via email will be deleted unread. We will continue to accept mailed submissions from those who are currently incarcerated (details below). 

Please submit only finished work, and do not send or inquire about revisions after submission. Although our editors do occasionally request or suggest changes, we cannot consider unsolicited revisions.

Response Time

Our goal is to respond to unsolicited submissions within 6 months, but we may take longer during our busiest months. Please be patient. We want to make sure your poetry gets the attention it deserves.

submit here

Mail Submission Guidelines

For writers who are currently incarcerated only.

General mailed submissions will be recycled and will not be considered. Thank you for understanding.

You may submit up to 4 poems.

  • Mail submissions are only accepted Oct 1 – Nov 30 and Feb 1 – Mar 31. Anything received outside of this window will be recycled.
  • Provide a cover letter & include a list of the titles of all poems.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions. However, let us know in your cover letter if poems are simultaneously submitted, and please inform us immediately if a poem is accepted elsewhere.
  • A self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) must accompany all submissions for response only. We cannot return manuscripts.
  • We will recycle any submission that does not provide contact information; any submission that does not provide a return address with a SASE will not be considered.

Mail paper submission to:

Poetry Northwest
Everett Community College
2000 Tower Street
Everett, WA 98201