Helpful Tips & Tricks for Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals

Syllabic poetry has specific rules that should always be followed when submitting your poetry to literary journals. No one likes rejections. Here are a few things that poets should watch out for:

  1. Count your syllables and the number of lines specified for the form you are writing. Then, double-check your poem before submission. Use to check syllables.
  2. Check your spelling. Most journals will not correct minor mistakes. Spelling mistakes can spell rejection.
  3. Does your poem need a title? Do your research on which forms require a title or not.
  4. Do not capitalize the first letter of each line of your poetry. Word and WordPress naturally capitalize the first word on each line, but it’s incorrect in Japanese poetry and most syllabic forms. Write your poetry like a pro… don’t capitalize!
  5. Here are the basic rules for the syllabic forms. Make sure you know how to write the forms before you submit them.

READ: Lit Mag Submissions 101

READ: Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry to learn how to write the typical syllabic poetry forms.

Published by Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

18 thoughts on “Helpful Tips & Tricks for Submitting Poetry to Literary Journals

  1. I know I always have to back track to undo forced capital lettering on my poems. It is a minor annoyance, but again if one is submitting to a journal that doesn’t want a poem to have any capital letters (except the beginning of sentences of prose pieces…) then it is something one should do.

    Thanks for the reminder to check the rules and to run through a syllable counting program. I check all my verse first before I hit that ‘publish’ button on my WP posts 😀 But then I write in my own document program and then copy and paste into WP. I need to know I have my own copy before publishing. A few years back I new someone who only wrote on WP – there was a glitch and all of their writing ‘vanished’. Just heartbreaking. You should always have copies of your own work in your own programs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I back up my WordPress blogs regularly to my external hard drive using the backup function on our blogs. The capitalization and following the rules of syllabic poetry is important. Whenever we publish something on our blogs or in a literary journal, that is a form of publication. If you want to be taken seriously as a poet, it’s always best to learn how to write the forms correctly. When in doubt, consult other literary journals and look at the published Japanese poetry. Observe the capitalization, the syllable count, and whether those forms have titles. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very helpful, Colleen! I had to go back through your book to touch up my poems! What a wonderful resource that ended up being. Is it fun being an editor? LOL. We’ll get better at it with time and make less work for you. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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