Thank you for your interest in Poetry Northwest. 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. We are 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 essays) on our website. We make no distinction between the work selected for print edition or website publication. 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.

Please submit in only one category, and limit yourself to one submission per reading period.

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. Please do not email the editors directly regarding your submission.

We accept submissions online only; work sent via mail will be recycled. 

Poetry

  • 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.
  • We now have a special 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.
  • 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. (Currently closed.)

Essays

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

Prizes

The 2022 James Welch Prize for Indigenous Poets accepts submissions from December 1 2021 – January 31 2022. Full prize guidelines are available on our website.

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 work gets the attention it deserves.

Full guidelines are available on our website.

Poems submitted here will go unread. We are open to reviewing prose that encourages us to engage with books of poetry (not necessarily new releases), individual poets, and issues of craft or poetics in new ways.

We also regularly feature reviews, interviews, and essays that engage specifically with poetry. For a list of titles we are particularly interested in, please check out this spreadsheet

What We Look For in Essays/Reviews:

  • Engaging, deep readings of titles that go beyond content summary and description into considerations of how the title might shift, challenge, illuminate, disturb, produce its poetics.
  • We are especially interested in multi-book reviews that put multiple titles in productive conversation.
  • Reviews that contextualize a book within a tradition or explore how it might/might not speak to it.
  • Critical writing that is itself sharp, lyrical, and analytical!

We'll make every effort to respond within two months of submission. Please wait three months before inquiring.

Land/Form is a new series edited by Publisher and Contributing Editor Kevin Craft that explores topics in geo-poetics. Read first installment of the series here.

Our focus is to publish longer essays of a lyrical, exploratory nature, mapping lived experience, big or small, with the topography of selected poems. Our goal is to offer a different kind of close reading, one that borrows equally from landscape and lineation, showcasing how poetry deepens our engagement with places—those loved, lost, or previously overlooked.

If you have a proposal for the series, please query us here or at landform@poetrynw.org.

Poetry Northwest