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Public School Poetry publishes two online issues each year: a Back-to-School Issue in September, and a Spring Break Issue in April. Please note that while we invoke public school tropes for the identity of this journal, we are not asking for school-specific poems or student-specific submitters. Please read the guidelines below and then send us work you’re passionate to share with us!

We will read for our next fall Back-to-School Issue May 1st - June 15th.  Submit 3-6 unpublished poems in one file that does not exceed ten pages to our Submittable account. When you get to Submittable, you will also be asked to fill out an enrollment form instead of a letter. Notifications will be sent in July. We only have room to publish a handful of writers. If your pieces aren’t selected, please know we still read them with care and are cheering you on from the bleachers. If your pieces are selected, please note that you are agreeing to give Public School Poetry first serial publication rights. After publication, all rights revert back to you, the author.

Poets selected will be published under the condition that they write “a five-paragraph essay” (250-600 words) on a fellow contributor’s poem packet for the issue. Contributors are randomly and anonymously assigned their poem packet by the Public School Poetry Vice Principals shortly after being accepted to the issue. We encourage contributors to consider the “five-paragraph essay” as a structure to play with/use in much the same way you might approach a sonnet or an ekphrasis. Essays can be as lyrical or analytical as you like as long as there’s five parts/units/paragraphs. Contributors are not obligated to address every poem and we won’t edit your essay or ask for revisions as long as what’s written foregrounds the poems and follows our school spirit guidelines:

  • We are here to lift each other up, not put each other in trash cans

  • We love questions and paradoxes, and we value insight over criticism

  • We are generous to styles, subjects, tones, forms, and aesthetics that differ from our own

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