Poetry Submission Guidelines


  • A.J. Odasso, Senior Editor
  • Sonya Taaffe, Senior Editor
  • Li Chua, Editor
  • M.J. Cunniff, Editor

What We Publish

We're looking for high-quality fantasy, horror, literary, slipstream, and speculative poetry.

We're looking for modern, exciting poems that explore the possible and impossible: stories about human and nonhuman experiences, dreams and reality, past and future, the here-and-now and otherwhere-and-elsewhen. We want poems from imaginative and unconventional writers; we want voices from diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

We want poems that understand "literary" does not have to equal "boring"; poems that know how to write strange without being senseless; poems that balance inventiveness with traditional structures. We like mischievous poems, pensive poems, and everything in between.

We don't see nearly enough true science fiction or formal poetry. However, poems must substantiate their forms; a rhymed weak concept is still a weak concept. Sonnet plus spaceship is not enough.

Here are some of our favorite poets:

A.E. Housman, Albert Goldbarth, Alexander Pope, Amal El-Mohtar, Anna Akhmatova, Anna Margolin, Bogi Takács, Bryan Thao Worra, C.P. Cavafy, Catullus, Charles Baudelaire, David Jones, David Kirby, Dominik Parisien, Dylan Thomas, Edward Lear, Frank O'Hara, Frederick Seidel, H.D., Iain Sinclair, Inua Ellams, James Tate, Jean Toomer, Selkie D'Isa, Jennifer L. Knox, Halee Kirkwood, Jo Walton, Kay Ryan, Liliana Ursu, Lisel Mueller, Li-Young Lee, Louise Glück, Margaret Atwood, Michele Bannister, Nayyirah Waheed, Ogden Nash, Ovid, Patience Agbabi, Pearl [Gawain]-Poet, Phyllis Gotlieb, Qwo-Li Driskill, Rainer Maria Rilke, Richard Siken, Rika Lesser, Robin Robertson, Robinson Jeffers, Rose Lemberg, Rudyard Kipling, Sappho, Seamus Heaney, Sean O'Brien, Sharon Olds, Shweta Narayan, Sofia Samatar, Tapiwa Mugabe, Ted Hughes, T.S. Eliot, Ursula K. Le Guin, Warsan Shire, W.B. Yeats, William Carlos Williams, and Yrsa Daley-Ward.

This is by no means a complete list. For more, you can read nearly every poem Strange Horizons has published in our free online archive, or browse our recent manifesto. We publish very short poems. We publish very long poems. We publish illustrated poems. We publish prose poems. We publish poems we like.

Pay Rates

Pay rates for new poetry will be $40 per poem, regardless of length or complexity. We buy first-printing world exclusive rights for two months. After that period, you are free to republish the poem elsewhere. We hope (but do not require) that you'll allow us to post the poem in our archives indefinitely. You have the right to remove your poem from the archives at any point.

How to Submit

No simultaneous submissions, please. Also, we do not accept unsolicited reprints. This includes poems previously published on personal websites or message boards. If a search engine can find it, so can we.

Email poetry to poetry@strangehorizons.com, one poem per e-mail, subject line "POETRY SUB: Your poem title". Do not send an attachment without querying first. If you do not follow these guidelines, your submission may be tagged as spam by our email systems, and we will not see it.

Poems should be in plain text (ASCII) format in the body of your email. Use two line breaks to indicate paragraph breaks. Place an _underscore_ at the beginning and end of a word or phrase to indicate italics; use *asterisks* to indicate boldface. For any other special formatting, please include an explanatory note. Send no more than six poems per two calendar months.

The Strange Horizons Poetry Department does not use an auto-responder to acknowledge submissions. We respond to most submissions within three months; if you have not heard from us four months after the date of the submission, please contact us at poetry@strangehorizons.com.

Material other than poetry should be submitted to the appropriate editor.