Submission Guidelines for Verse Wisconsin
In keeping with our mission, Verse Wisconsin publishes writers from Wisconsin, as well as those from across the country and around the globe. We are looking for work, of all voices, forms and styles, which demonstrates the excellence and diversity of poetry today, traditional and experimental. We are also interested in publishing prose in such forms as book reviews, essays, and other pieces which engage with poetry and foster thoughtful, critical conversations among poets and readers.
Our next online call (for October 2013) is "Parents & Children." We're reading April 1-May 15:
How do we write family? How do we write around family? Poets such as Anne Stevenson and Adrienne Rich have discussed how parenthood can interrupt or at the least make one’s life as poet difficult. And yet for those of us who are parents, surely this is also prime material for our poems…or is it? What taboos do we maintain a purposeful silence around? What risks do we take in choosing our own children as material? How do we know whose story we are telling? On the other side, do any of us ever escape our own parents’ voices, or their examples, for better or worse, perched on our shoulders, in our ears, as we write, commenting as we go? Should we try to? Or do we write those down to, and what happens when we do? What silences do we observe? What honesties do we take a chance for? And where is the line between sentiment and sentimentality, and does this subject matter ask us to re-think our definition of (and feelings around) sentimentality in the first place? Do we have adequate language for this material? In the fall 2013 online issue of Verse Wisconsin, we seek poems that explore “parents & children” from a variety of viewpoints. We are all someone’s child. Many of us are also someone’s parent. How do these identities feed our poetry? How do they fight our poetry? We are also open to verse drama, essay and more experimental or hybrid forms.
We read September-May for our print magazine, and submissions do not need to fit a particular theme, in contrast to our online issue, which will issue calls for poems.
All work submitted to VW will be considered for both the print and the online versions. If you are a high school or undergraduate teacher who is interested in working with us or using Verse Wisconsin in your classroom, please read our guidelines for teachers.
Please send 3-5 poems, included within the text of an email, to editors (at) versewisconsin (dot) org. Contact us if you need to send an attachment for formatting purposes. Visual poetry may be sent as jpg, png, or pdf files. We prefer mp3 files for audio recording, but can accept other formats. Query regarding animated files and video poems, which we also welcome. The subject line should read “[last name] – submission.” We also ask that you paste in a brief bio (3-4 lines) which includes any connection you may have to Wisconsin, even if it’s just an ex-boyfriend living in Oconomowoc or a family vacation when you were ten. We're responsive to a variety of tones, from straightforward to ironic! Please limit your submissions to one batch per issue.
Verse Wisconsin will not read any poem that has been previously published in a print or online magazine or journal. We will read poems that have appeared on the poet’s OWN blog or website (only), with an understanding that upon acceptance, the poet will temporarily remove the accepted poem from their own site for the duration of the VW issue their poem appears in. After the issue is past, we ask poets to link to our archives. We’ll be happy to list & link to websites and blogs in bios, as we currently do.
We do not read simultaneous submissions. We reply quickly (less than 8 weeks) and sometimes make comments. We ask that you respect the attention we give your work. If you are interested in becoming part of a lively poetic community, VW may be a good fit for you. If you’re trolling for a hit, or seeking the next rung on your publication ladder, we’re probably not it.
If you wish to submit an article, essay, reverie or opinion piece, query first with a general outline or idea in mind. Again, make sure the subject line reads “[last name] – query.” Email your query to editors (at) versewisconsin (dot) org.
Please send your queries and poems, along with bio and SASE, to
P. O. Box 620216
Middleton, WI 53562-0216
We will try to respond to all submissions within two months. After that time, you may query if you have not heard from us. Given the attention we are paying to your words, we ask that you refrain from simultaneous submissions.
Payment for contributors to the print magazine is two copies. We wish we could pay you more!
If you are the author or publisher of a book or chapbook of poems, please send us a review copy. We will publish the titles of all books received for one year online and in print for two issues, as well as review as many of them as we possibly can!
The Fine Print:
Verse Wisconsin receives first serial rights and/or first online publication rights to the poetry and articles it publishes. This means that the author of a work is free to have poems and prose printed in Verse Wisconsin republished elsewhere, as long as 1) other publishers do not require first rights AND 2) those publishers credit the work’s first publication in Verse Wisconsin. Verse Wisconsin reserves the right to publish individual poems and prose first printed in the magazine or online in anthology format at some future date.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT BY SUBMITTING WORK TO VERSE WISCONSIN you guarantee that the work you are submitting is your own original work, that it has never been published electronically or in print, and that it has not been accepted for publication elsewhere. By submitting work to us, you agree that Verse Wisconsin acquires first serial rights for poetry and prose and you thereby offer Verse Wisconsin first serial rights on the work you are submitting; you agree that if Verse Wisconsin accepts your work for publication, first publication acknowledgement to Verse Wisconsin will appear with the work in any subsequent publications. Finally, by submitting work to us, you give Verse Wisconsin the right to publish and archive accepted work, in print and/or online.
Verse Wisconsin seeks book reviews from 250-1000 words. Longer review-essays pieces will also be considered, especially if about multiple books, but please query first. (Reviews of 250-500 words will usually appear in a "Books Noted" column.)
We believe that good book reviews are an essential part of lively literary criticism. We’re looking for thoughtful, balanced, informative, and substantive reviews—don’t be afraid to be analytical! We’re not as interested in knowing whether or not you personally like a book, as much as whether the poetry is effectively written and how/why the poet’s craft works or doesn’t. Consider including comments on diction, syntax, form, metaphor and other literary devices, in addition to comments on subject matter. Consider contextualizing the book within an author’s works, the contemporary poetry scene, and/or larger literary traditions. Quotations from poems within the review will help clarify your points. Feel free to include longer quotations from poems, and please include the text of 1 or 2 poems from the book for us to consider publishing with the review—we’ll ask for permission from the author.