Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in Poetry Northwest, the region’s oldest literary magazine. If you’re considering sending us work, please read these guidelines carefully:

Poetry Northwest is published semi-annually in June and December. We also publish new work (poetry, reviews, interviews and essays on poetics or the intersections of poetry and civic life, arts, and sciences) on our website, to supplement and extend our print edition. We make no distinction between work selected for the print edition or for website publication. All work submitted to us during our reading period will be considered for the print edition, the website, or both, at the editors’ discretion.

Please send only unpublished work. We cannot consider anything that has been previously published or accepted for publication in any form, including work that has appeared online, in blogs, on Facebook, etc. Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we cannot offer individual criticism.

Please submit in only one category, and wait until you have received a response before submitting a second time.


From October 15 – January 15, Poetry Northwest is considering work to be included in The Anxiety Folio, to be published in the Summer & Fall of 2020.

This folio will include work that explores the public and personal anxieties of our time with compassion, formal invention and wit. Please select the appropriate category if you wish your work to be read in relation to this theme.

Poetry, visual or hybrid work, and essays will be considered.

Work submitted in this category will also be considered outside of the theme.


We welcome unsolicited submissions of poetry, original or in translation, during our regular reading period, September 15 – January 15.

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

When submitting translations, please submit both English and originals, and be sure you hold the rights to print the originals.

Prose & visual art

We welcome unsolicited submissions of prose all year.

We welcome queries concerning visual art from September 15 – January 15.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted with advance indication and prompt notification upon acceptance elsewhere. Please make a note in your submission through Submittable if 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.

The Joan Swift Memorial Prize

$500 and publication in Poetry Northwest for a poem or set of poems by a woman over age 65 now living and writing in the Pacific NW.

Deadline: The contest is not currently accepting submissions.

Read full guidelines here.


You may submit as many times as you’d like during our regular reading period, but please wait until you have received a response before submitting again.

For subscriberssubmissions will always be free.

For non-subscribers, we accept one free submission per reading period. Thereafter, each submission will be charged a small reading fee of $3. This small fee for multiple submissions helps support our mission to produce the highest quality literary journal possible. Multiple submissions without this reading fee (waived for subscribers) will be withdrawn unread.

Response time

As noted, our reading period begins on September 15 and ends on January 15. We understand that getting a decision quickly is important, and our goal is to respond to unsolicited submissions within 10 – 12 weeks, but we may take longer during our busiest months. Please be patient. We want to make sure your poetry gets the attention it deserves, and we read everything carefully. Please send only one submission at a time.


Payment consists of one copy of the issue in which your work appears, plus a year’s subscription.

Poetry Northwest holds first serial rights for material that we publish, and the right to reprint that material in other formats, including (but not limited to) online, eReaders, archival anthologies, etc. The copyright automatically reverts to the author upon first publication. We do not require that material be copyrighted prior to submission.

Our aesthetic

The best way to get a sense of what we’re looking for is to read recent issues of the magazine, and recent work published on the website. We look for poems that engage the world in specific (sensual and intellectual) terms, poems that savor the playfulness and resourcefulness of language itself, poems that embody “the music of what happens” (to borrow a phrase from the late, great Seamus Heaney). We are open to a wide range of styles, from formal to elliptical. But neither form nor content alone is enough: it’s the synchronicity of subject and style that makes the best poems lift off the page. That’s the kind of thing we hope to read and publish, every day. We look forward to reading your best work.