Call for Submissions

Submissions are now open!

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

Submission Schedule:

Submissions for Volume 18 are open on the following schedule:

Reading Period 1:  July 1 -- September 30, 2021 (max. 450)

Reading Period 2:  November 1, 2021 - January 31, 2022 (max. 450)

Reading Period 3 :  March 1 - April 30, 2022 (max. 800)


Submissions for our Fall, Winter & Summer Contests are open on the following schedule:

Fall:  October 1 - 31, 2021

Winter:  February 1 - 28, 2022

Summer: June 1 - 30, 2022


Student Editors Read Every Submission

We have a staff of more than 350 high school students from around the world, almost 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. To verify a reading period is still open, visit our submissions page on Submittable. 

Reading Periods: for Volume 18

Submissions during these times:

  • will receive in-depth editorial feedback from our editors
  • will be evaluated for publication in Volume 18
  • 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.
  • Winners are:
    awarded the Polyphony Lit Writing Award (no cash value)
    published in Volume 18
    offered full scholarship for Polyphony’s editor training course
    eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards.

Submission Guidelines

Writer Qualifications

  • High school students from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • Works must be written in English.
  • Submit a maximum of three pieces across the three genres.
  • 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. 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 with up to 80 lines is eligible.
  • Fiction and creative non-fiction must be 1,800 words or fewer, double-spaced.
  • 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.

Polyphony Lit Fall Contest 2021: Nature / Eco Poetry

The theme for the contest is “Nature / Eco Poetry.” There will be one winner and two finalists. (For more details on the contest prize, see below!)

Have you ever wondered why writers describe the setting of a poem as the “environment”? Setting, mood, and atmosphere all play a powerful role in capturing the essence of a poem. The devil is in the details, as they say -- the concrete details -- and nothing provides vivid imagery like the natural world.

So this month, we’d like to see the strongest nature imagery that you have to offer. We want poems that will transform us. Poems that will capture the transcendence of the natural world and show us the speaker’s place in this world. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, we want to “[take] a walk in the woods and [come] out taller than the trees.”

We want to see the beauty of nature. The brutality of nature. Give us the trilling bluebirds that flitter through the forest, or the shriek of a howler monkey deep in the jungle. Give us the murmur of restless leaves, or the hungry mouth of a yawning tundra.

Or maybe you want to write about the environment, not just as a setting, but as a call to action. If so, then bring us your worst storms. Bring us the ocean that is rising in your backyard. Bring us the smoke that is roiling across the West Coast. The world around you is burning, so write a poem that will save the earth.

Polyphony Lit Fall Contest Guidelines

Submissions will open on October 1st and will remain open until October 31st or until we reach our submission cap of 200 submissions.

Please note that this is a separate submission category from Polyphony Lit Volume 18.​ Submissions to Polyphony Lit Volume 18 will receive feedback from the editors, but for the Fall Contest category, only the winning submissions will receive feedback from the judge.

If you have already submitted your work to the Volume 18 category, then please do not send the same submission to the Fall Contest category.

If you submit to the Fall Contest category first and your work is declined, then you may submit it to the Volume 18 category after the Fall Contest is finished.

Writer Qualifications

  • High school students from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • Works must be written in English.
  • Submit a maximum of three pieces.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. If your submission is accepted, you must note if the work was previously published. If it is accepted elsewhere after you submit to us, you must notify us immediately. In this case, if we accept it 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.
  • All submissions that have not been previously published are eligible for both the Polyphony Lit Summer Contest Award and the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards.

Length

  • Submissions must be 1,800 words or fewer, double-spaced.
  • Submissions that exceed limits will not be accepted.

Formatting​

  • Do not put your name on the piece, as all work is blind juried.
  • Submissions longer than one page should have the page number inserted at the top (right or left side) of every page, as it would help ourJudge specify the location for their commentary.
  • 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.
  • Upload only one piece per submission file; to submit more than one piece, make more than one submission file.
  • 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 a $5 submission fee.
  • There is a submission cap of 200 submissions, so we may close submissions for the Fall Contest before the deadline of October 31st if we receive 200 submissions. We recommend submitting early in the month, to ensure that you do not miss the deadline.

Prize

There will be one winner and two finalists. The winners/finalists will receive:

  • Publication in Polyphony Lit Volume 18
  • Eligibility for the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards
  • Editorial feedback from the Summer Contest Judge, Kayleigh Sim
  • Social media posts announcing the winners
  • An honorary emblem that will appear next to the published work on the website
  • A full scholarship for Polyphony Lit’s "How to be a Literary Editor" course. (Upon completion of the course, students will be eligible to join the editorial staff of Polyphony Lit!)

Please note that only the three winners will receive feedback from the Judge. However, if your work is declined for the Fall Contest, then you may submit to the Volume 18 category and receive regular feedback from our editors.

To meet our Contest Judge and Readers, see their bios below!

Copyright

By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the following: 1. If my work is accepted for publication in the Polyphony Lit, Print Edition or Web Edition or both, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, grant to POLYPHONY LIT, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and its successors in interest, the: (a) exclusive first publication rights worldwide in the English language; (b) royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, nonexclusive rights to reprint the Work in any volume, anthology, or other format published by POLYPHONY LIT; (c) nonexclusive rights to publish, perform, reproduce, distribute, or display the Work on electronic databases, on-line networks, other electronic systems, or any other medium now existing or developed in the future for use in projects developed, authorized, or licensed by POLYPHONY LIT; (d) nonexclusive rights to license the Work to a third party; and (e) nonexclusive rights to reproduce the Work, or any part thereof, in promotions, or advertising or any other form not offered for sale.  2. Under United States copyright law, I, as AUTHOR, will retain the copyright in the Work, subject to the rights I have granted to POLYPHONY LIT.  3. In any subsequent reuse or republication of the Work not covered by this grant of rights, I, as AUTHOR, agree to include an Acknowledgment, structured substantially as follows: “(year of first publication by Polyphony Lit) (Author name), first published in Polyphony Lit (Volume #).” 4. Warranty: I am the sole author of this Work and own sole copyright to this submitted Work, subject to the rights granted to POLYPHONY LIT above. 5. Indemnity: POLYPHONY LIT shall not be liable to the AUTHOR or any other person or entity for any and all claims, causes of action, damages and judgments arising out of this license or otherwise. Polyphony Lit accepts simultaneous submissions but expects to be notified immediately if the submission is picked up for publication elsewhere. As it is our interest in providing a wide stage for out contributing authors, it is still possible we would accept the piece for publication even if it is picked up elsewhere. In this case, we would acknowledge the site of the original publication. As the Claudia Ann Seaman (CAS) Awards are reserved for original, unpublished work, pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the CAS Awards.

Privacy Policy

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

Meet the Judge

Kayleigh Sim lives in San Diego, California, and is currently a Senior Editor for Polyphony Lit. She attends Mt. Carmel High School and will graduate in 2022. Kayleigh loves poetry, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Trouvaille Review, Cathartic Lit, and elsewhere. When she isn’t writing, you can find her swimming, playing the piano, daydreaming, or overthinking.

Meet the Readers

Nicole Guan is a Senior Editor at Polyphony Lit as well as an aspiring creative writer. Her work has received both a Gold and Silver Key from the Scholastic Writing Awards. And as an editor, Nicole loves reading the works of talented writers and witnessing the creative ideas of others that inspire her. In her free time, she likes to take long walks while listening to music and watching Chinese variety shows.

Nina Ballerstedt is a junior in high school from Georgia and a Senior Editor for Polyphony Lit. When she's not writing or editing submissions, Nina enjoys playing volleyball, painting, and rereading her favorite poems. She also loves making cyanotypes of various flowers and competing on her school's mock trial team.

Shaliz Bazldjoo is a sophomore in Laurel School’s class of 2024 near Shaker, Ohio, and an editor at Polyphony Lit. She is excited to see the various  styles and talents that this contest receives.

Call for Cover Art Submissions


Submissions are open from July 1, 2020–April 30, 2021.

Artist Qualifications

  • High school students from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • We welcome multiple submissions.

Artistic Piece Guidelines

  • 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.
  • File format should be high-definition JPG or PDF image, at least 8” tall, oriented vertically.  The cover image is 9.5" x 6.5".

Submitting Guidelines

  • 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.

Feedback

  • We will not be able to respond to each submission. If your piece is accepted for publication, we will notify you at the close of our submission cycle.

Copyright

By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the following: 1. If my work is accepted for publication in the Polyphony Lit, Print Edition or Web Edition or both, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, grant to POLYPHONY LIT, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and its successors in interest, the: (a) exclusive first publication rights worldwide in the English language; (b) royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, nonexclusive rights to reprint the Work in any volume, anthology, or other format published by POLYPHONY LIT; (c) nonexclusive rights to publish, perform, reproduce, distribute, or display the Work on electronic databases, on-line networks, other electronic systems, or any other medium now existing or developed in the future for use in projects developed, authorized, or licensed by POLYPHONY LIT; (d) nonexclusive rights to license the Work to a third party; and (e) nonexclusive rights to reproduce the Work, or any part thereof, in promotions, or advertising or any other form not offered for sale.  2. Under United States copyright law, I, as AUTHOR, will retain the copyright in the Work, subject to the rights I have granted to POLYPHONY LIT.  3. In any subsequent reuse or republication of the Work not covered by this grant of rights, I, as AUTHOR, agree to include an Acknowledgment, structured substantially as follows: “(year of first publication by Polyphony Lit) (Author name), first published in Polyphony Lit (Volume #).” 4. Warranty: I am the sole author of this Work and own sole copyright to this submitted Work, subject to the rights granted to POLYPHONY LIT above. 5. Indemnity: POLYPHONY LIT shall not be liable to the AUTHOR or any other person or entity for any and all claims, causes of action, damages and judgments arising out of this license or otherwise. Polyphony Lit accepts simultaneous submissions but expects to be notified immediately if the submission is picked up for publication elsewhere. As it is our interest in providing a wide stage for out contributing authors, it is still possible we would accept the piece for publication even if it is picked up elsewhere. In this case, we would acknowledge the site of the original publication. As the Claudia Ann Seaman (CAS) Awards are reserved for original, unpublished work, pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the CAS Awards.

Privacy Policy

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

Submission Guidelines
Writer Qualifications

  • High school (or equivalent) students from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.
  • Works must be written in English.
  • Submit a maximum of three pieces across the three genres.
  • 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. 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 with up to 80 lines is eligible.
  • Fiction and creative non-fiction must be 1,800 words or fewer, double-spaced.
  • 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 ONLY .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 submit your work via Submittable only. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.
  • Upload only one piece per submission file; to submit more than one piece, create more than one submission file.
  • If you submit a revision of a piece that has already been returned to you, type the abbreviation (REV), in parentheses, following the title.​
  • There is no fee to submit.

Copyright

By submitting my Work to Polyphony Lit, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, agree to the following: 1. If my work is accepted for publication in the Polyphony Lit, Print Edition or Web Edition or both, I, the AUTHOR of this Work, grant to POLYPHONY LIT, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and its successors in interest, the: (a) exclusive first publication rights worldwide in the English language; (b) royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, nonexclusive rights to reprint the Work in any volume, anthology, or other format published by POLYPHONY LIT; (c) nonexclusive rights to publish, perform, reproduce, distribute, or display the Work on electronic databases, on-line networks, other electronic systems, or any other medium now existing or developed in the future for use in projects developed, authorized, or licensed by POLYPHONY LIT; (d) nonexclusive rights to license the Work to a third party; and (e) nonexclusive rights to reproduce the Work, or any part thereof, in promotions, or advertising or any other form not offered for sale.  2. Under United States copyright law, I, as AUTHOR, will retain the copyright in the Work, subject to the rights I have granted to POLYPHONY LIT.  3. In any subsequent reuse or republication of the Work not covered by this grant of rights, I, as AUTHOR, agree to include an Acknowledgment, structured substantially as follows: “(year of first publication by Polyphony Lit) (Author name), first published in Polyphony Lit (Volume #).” 4. Warranty: I am the sole author of this Work and own sole copyright to this submitted Work, subject to the rights granted to POLYPHONY LIT above. 5. Indemnity: POLYPHONY LIT shall not be liable to the AUTHOR or any other person or entity for any and all claims, causes of action, damages and judgments arising out of this license or otherwise. Polyphony Lit accepts simultaneous submissions but expects to be notified immediately if the submission is picked up for publication elsewhere. As it is our interest in providing a wide stage for out contributing authors, it is still possible we would accept the piece for publication even if it is picked up elsewhere. In this case, we would acknowledge the site of the original publication. As the Claudia Ann Seaman (CAS) Awards are reserved for original, unpublished work, pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the CAS Awards.

Privacy Policy

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