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Submission Guidelines

Following is a list of helpful tips regarding what we do and do not consider for publication. The best gauge of the kind of poetry we're looking for is any issue of The New York Quarterly. A more complete discussion of our NYQ screening procedures appears in issue #45. Other information may be available in our Poet Handbook.

We publish only poetry.
We screen open submissions of poetry year round. The essays, interviews, and artwork are all solicited.

We do not publish previously published work.
If your work has appeared in any version or form anywhere in the world in print or online PRIOR to when we will publish it - DO NOT SEND IT TO US, it is that simple.

Ensure that your submitted work is complete as is.
Please only submit work that is ready for publication. If a poem is accepted it will be published as is. Any revisions to an accepted work will subject it to editorial scrutiny and could possibly result in its exclusion from publication.

Proofread your poems before sending them to us.
Misspelled words and typos may bias screeners against your work.

We do not publish theme issues.
One of the greatest assets of the NYQ is the fact that it remains eclectic. We do not publish theme issues nor do we look for any particular genre or style.

We do not look for any special viewpoint, or belief.
We strongly believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Therefore, we will not discriminate against a poem because it contains vulgar language, politically incorrect statements, a particular political or religious viewpoint, or any other socially discriminating factor. As long as we feel the poem fits the magazine, we will publish the work as is.

What do we look for in a poem?
While it is not easy to describe an editorial voice in a few words, the best summary of what we look for in a poem can be found in Ezra Pound's ABC of Reading: phanopoeia, melopoeia, and logopoeia - sight, sound, and sense, respectively. In general (extreme generality), we look for strong imagery, sound, and multiple layers of meaning.

What can cause a poem to be rejected?
A poem can be rejected for many reasons. Not the least of which could be any one of the following:

Prose with line breaks.
More often than not, we see prosaic poems that without the line breaks would simply be nice prose.

Abstract (often Latinate) words.
Words such as love or hate, words that are expansive and ambiguous, words that need to be opened up and shown to the reader, not told.

Bad endings.
Often a poem will be nice right up until the last few lines. Please do not summate or write a conclusion or end with a "are you sure you got what I meant?" Please do not follow the old addage of "tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them." That is for prose, not poetry. Another common mistake at the end of a poem is the asking of a question that the reader should be asking on their own; however, just because the poem ends with a question mark does not mean it is necessarily bad.

We do not workshop submissions.
Please DO NOT write to us and ask us what why your poem got rejected - WE WILL NOT TELL YOU. This would amount to a workshop and we do not have the time to do that.

We do not take poems on the condition that the poet edit the poem.
We will not suggest edits in order to accept a poem for publication. The poem is either accepted or rejected based upon the submitted work.

I got rejected, now what?
The general rule of thumb is to keep submitting. However, if after a dozen or so rejections from us you may want to consider that your voice and the voice of the magazine are just not compatible and you should submit elsewhere. And keep in mind, just because your poems did not work for us it doesn't mean that they are bad or you should quit writing, it simply means we may not be the place for you.

Will you reconsider your decision?
Absolutely not. If a poem is rejected, it is rejected and that is that. Please do not write to us asking us to reconsider.

I feel that my poems meet the criteria, why don't you?
We generally know right away in that undefinable region of our gut if something is going to work for us or not. So while technically the poem may meet all of the above criteria, that criteria is simply a very general and basic framework of understanding to a much more intuitive process that is not so easily defined.

Some suggested readings for further understanding.

Any issue of The New York Quarterly.

Pound, Ezra. ABC of Reading. New Directions, NY.

Packard, William. The Art of Poetry Writing: A Guide For Poets, Students, & Readers. St. Martin's Press, NY.