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 19 are open on the following schedule:

Reading Period 1:  July 1 - September 30, 2022
Reading Period 2:  November 1, 2021 - January 31, 2023
Reading Period 3 :  March 1 - April 30, 2023


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

Latin Heritage Contest: September 15th - October 15th, 2022
Fall Contest:  October 1 - 31, 2022
Black History Month Contest: February 1 - 28, 2023
Winter Contest:  February 1 - 28, 2023
Pride Month Contest: June 1 - 30, 2023
Summer Contest: June 1 - 30, 2023


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 six windows during the 2021/22 submission period. To verify a reading period is still open, visit our submissions page on Submittable.

For Volume 19

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

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, and Pride Month Contests
  • Winners are:
    awarded the Polyphony Lit Writing Award (no cash value)
    published in our annual volume

Poetry / Prose Guidelines

Writer Qualifications​

  • High school students (aged 14-18) from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • Works must be written in English.
  • Original works only.
  • Submit a maximum of three pieces altogether.
  • If you are submitting multiple pieces then please upload them as separate submissions. If you submit multiple pieces in a single document, then your work will be withdrawn and you will be asked to resubmit your pieces separately.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. When you submit previously published work, please note that the work was previously published, where and when it is being published, and if it is eligible for republication. If it is accepted for publication elsewhere after submitting to Polyphony Lit, you must notify us immediately... but if you are still interested in publication at Polyphony Lit, then please do not withdraw your submission. If we choose to accept a previously published submission for publication, we will acknowledge the site of the original publication.
  • Pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Award for Young Writers..

Length

  • Poetry must be 80 lines or less.
  • Fiction and creative nonfiction must be 1,800 words or less.
  • Submissions that exceed limits will not be accepted.

Formatting​

  • Do not put your name on the piece, as all work is blind juried.
  • Poetry should be formatted flush left unless another format, such as centering, is an integral part of the piece's meaning.
  • We accept submission in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats.
  • We prefer common conventions:
    Color: Black & white
    Font Size: 12 pt throughout, including titles
    Font Type: Times or Times New Roman
    Margins: 1-inch at the top and bottom, and 1.25 inch at the left and right. One space after periods. There should be no extra returns after paragraphs unless you have a meaningful reason for the extra space.

Using Submittable

  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.
  • If you submit a revision of a piece that has already been returned to you, type the abbreviation (REV), in parentheses, after the title you enter.​
  • There is no fee to submit.
  • By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the terms and conditions outlined in our https://www.polyphonylit.org/privacy-policy.

Additional Guidelines for Creative Nonfiction​

  • Because of the flexibility of form that marks much of Creative Nonfiction, the genre is not easily defined; at Polyphony Lit, we look for creative nonfiction pieces that are written in the style of personal essays or short memoirs. We are looking for pieces that are informal, flexible in form, and most importantly, personal. Personal discovery is the keystone of a personal essay. Self-revelation, human experiences, humor, and flexibility of form are all aspects that we look for in pieces we publish as creative non-fiction.
  • We do not look for op-ed pieces, critical analyses, research papers, or academic essays (unless the academic essay in question takes a creative approach and is written as a personal reflection).
  • We would advise reading some samples of our work, in order to understand the type of material that we publish. Here are some samples of creative nonfiction that we have published recently:
  • Memories of the Boy I Didn't Know
  • responses to love
  • Holiday in a Burning City


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 color palette that works for printing.
  • 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 works are 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.
  • By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the terms and conditions outlined in our https://www.polyphonylit.org/privacy-policy.

Please note that this category is for pieces written by Polyphony Lit editors only. This form helps us to identify the editors' submissions and to ensure that the editors in question are not assigned to vote on their own work. If you are not an editor on the staff of Polyphony Lit, then please submit through the "Volume 18: Submissions" form instead of this one.


Poetry / Prose Guidelines

Writer Qualifications​

  • High school students (aged 14-18) from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • Works must be written in English.
  • Original works only.
  • Submit a maximum of three pieces altogether.
  • If you are submitting multiple pieces then please upload them as separate submissions. If you submit multiple pieces in a single document, then your work will be withdrawn and you will be asked to resubmit your pieces separately.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. When you submit previously published work, please note that the work was previously published, where and when it is being published, and if it is eligible for republication. If it is accepted for publication elsewhere after submitting to Polyphony Lit, you must notify us immediately... but if you are still interested in publication at Polyphony Lit, then please do not withdraw your submission. If we choose to accept a previously published submission for publication, we will acknowledge the site of the original publication.
  • Pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Award for Young Writers..

Length

  • Poetry must be 80 lines or less.
  • Fiction and creative nonfiction must be 1,800 words or less.
  • Submissions that exceed limits will not be accepted.

Formatting​

  • Do not put your name on the piece, as all work is blind juried.
  • Poetry should be formatted flush left unless another format, such as centering, is an integral part of the piece's meaning.
  • We accept submission in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats.
  • We prefer common conventions:
    Color: Black & white
    Font Size: 12 pt throughout, including titles
    Font Type: Times or Times New Roman
    Margins: 1-inch at the top and bottom, and 1.25 inch at the left and right. One space after periods. There should be no extra returns after paragraphs unless you have a meaningful reason for the extra space.

Using Submittable

  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.
  • If you submit a revision of a piece that has already been returned to you, type the abbreviation (REV), in parentheses, after the title you enter.​
  • There is no fee to submit.
  • By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the terms and conditions outlined in our https://www.polyphonylit.org/privacy-policy.

Additional Guidelines for Creative Nonfiction​

  • Because of the flexibility of form that marks much of Creative Nonfiction, the genre is not easily defined; at Polyphony Lit, we look for creative nonfiction pieces that are written in the style of personal essays or short memoirs. We are looking for pieces that are informal, flexible in form, and most importantly, personal. Personal discovery is the keystone of a personal essay. Self-revelation, human experiences, humor, and flexibility of form are all aspects that we look for in pieces we publish as creative non-fiction.
  • We do not look for op-ed pieces, critical analyses, research papers, or academic essays (unless the academic essay in question takes a creative approach and is written as a personal reflection).
  • We would advise reading some samples of our work, in order to understand the type of material that we publish. Here are some samples of creative nonfiction that we have published recently:
  • Memories of the Boy I Didn't Know
  • responses to love
  • Holiday in a Burning City

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 color palette that works for printing.
  • 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 works are 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.
  • By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the terms and conditions outlined in our https://www.polyphonylit.org/privacy-policy.

Polyphony Lit is currently looking for high school writers/editors (aged 14-18) to represent certain regions of the globe in an upcoming poetry workshop called Around the World of Poetry in 80 Days. This course will feature experienced editors and award-winning writers from all over the globe, each contributing a couple of instructional videos that will walk students through the history, culture, and craft of poetry. For more details on the workshop, please see this document.

We are currently looking for students in the following regions:

  • Central America
  • South America
  • The Caribbean Islands
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • The Middle East
  • Oceania
  • Indigenous regions of North America

In addition to being featured in our workshop, selected students will also be offered the opportunity to take Polyphony Lit’s How to Be a Literary Editor course for free and join the staff of Polyphony Lit as a Junior Editor.

Please attach a sample of your best poetry and please write a brief topic pitch, explaining how you would like to explore poetry-related topics in your video/slides if you were to participate in the workshop.

There are a limited number of positions available, so students will be selected based on the quality of their work, the originality of their topic pitch, and their geographic location.

The deadline to submit is August 31st, 2022.

“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 $75 enrollment fee for students who qualify for financial aid.

You may apply for the scholarship by filling out the form below or by emailing david@polyphonylit.org.

"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 has been affected by the pandemic.
  • 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 2022.
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