Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Submission Guidelines: Poetry

Editors: Juli Anna Herndon
LMpoetry (at) literarymama (dot) com

We are looking for poems extraordinary for their vision, craft, integrity and originality. Poems of any length and form are welcome. Maximum of two poems per submission, please.

Send submissions in the text of an email (no attachments), and be sure to include your full name and the word "Submission" in the subject line. We are open for submissions during two reading periods: from March 1 to June 1 and from September 1 to January 1. Submissions received during these two reading periods will be reviewed and responded to within two or three months. Please note that submissions sent outside of our reading periods will not be reviewed.

Each month, we publish five poems, however we publish six poems in each of our three special issues—May/Mother's Day, June/Father's Day, and October/Desiring Motherhood. Literary Mama does not publish new content in July and August.

Every poetry submission is initially reviewed by Poetry Editor Juli Anna Herndon. Poems that Juli Anna selects are then compiled and submitted for final approval by our Senior Editors. We aim to respond to all submissions within three months. If you have not heard from us after three months, please feel free to query about the status of your submission.

Approved poems will be published within one year of acceptance. Contributing poets will receive a Literary Mama Contributor Badge to add to their websites or blogs, as well as the lifelong satisfaction of being part of the Literary Mama community.

Questions we consider about each submitted poem:

1. Does the poem fit within Literary Mama’s mission? Does it convey writing about the many faces of motherhood (or occasionally fatherhood)? Read poems on our site and in our archives to get a sense of the types of poetry we publish (but feel free to submit something different and amazing).

2. Is the poem well-crafted? Is it technically skillful? Whether free verse or formal, does it pay attention to poetic techniques such as metaphor, imagery, rhythm, word choice, even grammar and punctuation?

3. Does it jump off the page? Is there something unique about the poem, whether it is perspective, theme, language, or something else? Does it look at the familiar in an unusual way, or lead the reader to consider something brand new?

4. Does it fit within an upcoming issue? We look for poems that work within each month’s theme, which we determine based on our submissions but don’t publicize ahead of time. Themes have included Departures, Seeking the Sublime, Strong, Liberated Girls, and Stages of Mothering Boys.

We receive many excellent submissions, and we often turn away high-quality work because of limited space. We do accept simultaneous submissions—please let us know if your poem is accepted elsewhere as soon as possible. We also encourage poets to keep writing, keep polishing, and keep submitting.

For more about the Poetry department at Literary Mama, check out this interview as well as these writing tips from former Poetry Editor Sharon Kraus and then-Associate Poetry Editor Ginny Kaczmarek.

Review our General Submission Guidelines.