Call for Submissions

Polyphony Lit invites submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction from high school students (aged 14-18) worldwide. Students may submit for publication in our annual volume, and/or our annual writing contests.

For submission guidelines, please see the individual categories listed below.

Submission Schedule:

Submissions for Volume 20 are open on the following schedule:

Reading Period 1:  July 1 - September 30, 2023
Reading Period 2:  November 1, 2021 - January 31, 2024
Reading Period 3 :  March 1 - April 30, 2024

Submissions for our Seasonal Contests are open on the following schedule:

Latin Heritage Contest: September 15th - October 15th, 2023 

Fall Contest:  October 1 - 31, 2023

Black History Month Contest: February 1 - 28, 2024

Winter Contest:  February 1 - 28, 2024

Asian / Pacific Heritage Month Contest: May 1st - 31, 2024

Pride Month Contest: June 1 - 30, 2024

Summer Contest: June 1 - 30, 2024

Please note that some reading periods may close early if we reach our submission cap, so we recommend submitting early during the reading period.

Student Editors Read Every Submission

We have a staff of more than 150 high school students from around the world, all of whom have successfully completed our literary editing training program.

Editorial Philosophy

It is our privilege to read every submission we receive. We relish the opportunity to participate in this personal and essential journey of the human voice. We strive to build respectful, mutually beneficial writer-editor relationships. We honor literary achievement by bringing attention to excellence through awards and publishing much of the extraordinary work we receive.

Why Submit?

Anytime you submit, your work will be evaluated for publication in our magazine and, if published, it will be eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Young Writers Award.

Submission Calendar

Due to high submission volume, we manage our reading periods to match our editor capacity. We have three windows during the Volume 20 (2023-2024) submission period (exlcuding contests). To verify a reading period is still open, visit our submissions page on Submittable.

For Volume 20:

Submissions during these times:

  • will receive in-depth editorial feedback from our editors
  • will be evaluated for publication in our annual volume
  • are eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards
  • Submissions are free

For Contests:

  • Submissions during these contest reading periods are read by editors but do not receive feedback unless they are selected as a finalist
  • Submissions cost $5.00 each for the Fall, Winter, and Summer Contests
  • Submissions are free for Latin Heritage Month, Black History Month, Asian / Pacific Heritage Month, and Pride Month Contests
  • Winners are:
    awarded the Polyphony Lit Writing Award (no cash value)
    published in our annual volume

Interested in becoming an editor for Polyphony Lit? Take our editorial training course and join the staff!

Interested in learning more about poetry from the best high school / college-aged writers and editors around the globe? Hone your poetry skills, learn about cultural perspectives on poetry, and receive detailed feedback from experienced Teaching Assistants in our poetry workshop.

“How to Be a Literary Editor” Scholarship Application

Students who fill out this form will be offered a full scholarship for the “How to Be a Literary Editor” course, if they qualify for financial aid.

We are a nonprofit with aim to reach all students. In order to open our staff to students from low-income communities, we offer to waive the $99 enrollment fee for students who qualify for financial aid.

You must apply for the scholarship by completing this form:

"How to Be a Literary Editor"

This course teaches high school and college students how to edit poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Our editorial method, developed over 15 years of teaching our own staff the craft of editing, offers a standard approach for tackling each submission and gives an overview of the specific editing vocabulary useful for giving meaningful feedback.

Students who complete the course will be prepared to join the staff of their school literary magazine, ace an internship at a real-world lit magazine, and/or join Polyphony Lit.  The course also includes a guide for literary magazine interns published by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses [clmp] which will introduce students to the administrative and business aspects of producing a literary magazine.

Features of this course:

Students who pass the mini-quizzes and complete the final assignment will receive a Certificate of Completion and an invitation to join the Polyphony Lit editorial staff.

For High School Literary Magazine Advisers: If your school is interested in using the workshop to train your high school editorial staff, please contact us for more information and a discount on volume purchases.

Scholarship Qualifications

  • High school student or equivalent.
  • Financial need: public school students who qualify for free/reduced lunch; private school students receiving financial aid; students whose family financial situation prohibits them from purchasing the program.
  • Has access to computer/device and Wifi to take the online workshop.
  • Plans to complete the online workshop, which takes 3-5 hours, by June of each school year.

Note: Volume 20 has closed for poetry and prose submissions. A new submission season for Volume 21 will begin in July 2024 so stay tuned for more information in the coming months.

That being said, we are still open for visual art submissions for Volume 20. Please see our art guidelines below.

Art Guidelines

Artist Qualifications​

  • High school students (aged 14-18) from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • For the art category, we welcome multiple submissions.

Artwork Guidelines​

  • Submitted artwork will be considered for any of the following categories: (1) Cover Art (which will appear both on the website and in print), (2) T-Shirt Art (which will appear in our online store), and (3) Promotional Art (which will appear on social media, on our website, and in our online workshops).
  • The T-shirt art winner will receive $150 and a free t-shirt featuring their design.
  • Images must be a .PNG or .JPG file.
  • Images must be at least 2700 x 1800 pixels. Images with low resolution will not be eligible for cover art or t-shirt printing.
  • Images must have a resolution of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch).
  • Portrait orientation is preferred.
  • For the purpose of t-shirt printing, your artwork may be edited in order to create a printer-friendly color palette.
  • Polyphony means “many voices,” which you can use as inspiration for your design. You are not limited to that theme, as we are looking for the creativity and imagination of your visual art to be a match for the wide-ranging literary works contained in our annual volume.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but if the piece is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately. Only previously unpublished artwork is eligible.
  • All submissions must be original and may include drawings, paintings, collages, photographs, or mixed media.

Using Submittable​

  • In the submission form, please select "Cover Art" as the genre for your submission.
  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.
  • Upload only one piece per submission file. To submit more than one piece, make more than one submission file.
  • There is no fee to submit.
  • We do not provide feedback on cover art submissions. If your piece is accepted for publication, we will notify you at the close of our submission cycle.
  • If you are submitting visual art, you give us permission to publish your work as cover art, t-shirt art, or promotional art on Polyphony Lit's platforms as outlined by Polyphony Lit's Copyright Policies.
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