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 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.

General 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.

You may submit up to four poems at a time. Please wait until the next reading period to submit again.

Please help us to ensure that we take to press a magazine that reflects the tremendous diversity of the contemporary poetry community by including in your cover letter any relevant information that you feel would aid us in this mission.

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.

If you are a previous contributor, we’d love to hear from you if it’s been two years since the date of your last publication with us. Writers submitting translations–please note that we now have a special translations category in which to submit. Do not submit in the general poetry category. We require that the translator have the permission of the original author for their translations.

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.

Poetry

Closed for submissions.

Currently we are considering poems for the 2023-2024 season (Summer & Fall 2023 and Winter & Spring 2024 issues).

Presenting: Featuring Emerging Writers

Closed for submissions.

If you are an emerging writer, please consider submitting poems to Presenting, a print feature 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.

Poetry in Translation

Closed for submissions.

We will reopen for submissions of poetry in translation in early 2023. We now have a separate submission category for translations. Please do not submit translations in the general poetry submissions category. We require that translators obtain permission from the copyright holders for the translation.

Essays

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

Feature: Land/Form

Open for submissions.

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 James Welch Prize

Open for submissions.

The 2023 James Welch Prize will open for submissions from January 1 – February 28. Please visit here for details and contest submission guidelines.

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