Now in our 26th year of inspiring poets and readers. Established 1998.

Submission Guidelines

If you have written a poem for the current prompt and want to submit it to the site, please read and follow these guidelines:

1. Format your poem within your email as you wish it to appear, but keep in mind that formats are often altered in the process of using e-mail, and we will copy your poem as received. Send your poem in PLAIN TEXT format, rather than HTML, if possible. SINGLE SPACE your poem unless you are intentionally using line breaks or spacing for effect.
 (Poems copied and pasted from Microsoft Word will contain extra HTML code which may change the way your poem appears in our mail reader.) Most email programs have a "plain text" option. For example, in Gmail select the three dots icon at the bottom of the compose window and there will be an option for "plain text mode.")

2. We do not accept submissions as attachments.

3. If your poem is accepted, we will spell check and correct any obvious errors found. If there are other questions about the poem, we will e-mail you.

4. Put the TITLE of the poem at the top in all CAPITAL LETTERS

5. You must include a first & last name that you wish to use at the end of the poem

6. If you want to have your name linked to your email, blog, website, twitter account, etc.so that readers can contact you or learn about your work, include that information after your name.

7. Submit your poem in the body of an email to poetsonline@gmail.com with the subject line submission and the short name of the prompt (for example, "submission haiku") All mail is filtered and this format filters your submission into the correct location for our readers.

8. Please submit only one poem for consideration.

Your Rights

If your work is accepted at Poets Online, you agree to grant us First North American Serial Rights and all archival rights. Upon publication, all rights revert back to the author. You agree that if your poem subsequently appears elsewhere (in print or online), you will give first publishing credit to Poets Online.

For more on your rights, look at our copyrights page.

Submitting your poem includes the implicit understanding that the work is an original poem written by you and has not been plagiarized from any source.

Submissions generally are read by three readers, including the editor, and poems accepted by two or three of those readers are published.

Unfortunately, we can not respond personally to every poem submitted or offer critiques of your work. Subscribing to our mailing list will notify you when the new issue is available, or you can check the site about a week after the deadline to see if the latest issue is available.

All issues are retained in the site archive.

What are the most common reasons that a poem is rejected?

Most poems that are not published online quite simply did not address the prompt. We will only consider poems that respond to the current writing prompt. From those poems, we try to select those of the best quality and poems that show a variety of responses to the prompt.
Be sure to follow the submission guidelines above.
Do not submit multiple poems.