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General Submission Guidelines for Poetry, Fiction and Literary Non-Fiction

Authors are limited to 3 submissions at any one time. Any combination of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction cannot total more than three submissions. Once an action has been made on a previous submission you can submit another piece. No author will have more than three pieces published in any one issue of Polyphony HS.

If you stick with the format guidelines below, it’ll make it much easier on us if we accept your submission.

  • Please keep your stories and essays to 1,500 words or less. We won’t fuss over the word count, but please be aware that we get hundreds of submissions a year. We won’t complain if you take advantage of our 250-word cushion, but we get grumpy once you get past that. Please limit poetry to 80 lines.
  • Double-spaced.
  • Font: keep it conventional. If you want to be taken seriously out there in the publishing world, stick to conventional fonts, styles, and sizes.
    Color: Black
    Size: 12
    Type: Times or Times New Roman
    Everything else is crazy. No crazy colors. No giant titles.
  • Keep your margins conventional as well. Word Documents are typically formatted with one-inch at the top and bottom, and 1.25 inch at the left and right. One space after periods. There should be no extra returns after paragraphs unless you have a fictive reason for the extra space.
  • Before you log into Submission Manager, make sure that your name is not written on the manuscript you send to us. All of the works submitted to us are blindly juried, which is to say, our editors should not be made aware of the author.
  • Hard Copy Submissions: We hate them. Don’t send them.
  • Payment: Polyphony HS authors are not paid in actual money. Maybe some day we’ll be so loaded with cash that this may change. As it is, current contributors will receive a cop of the issue in which they are published.
  • If you want to send us college essays, they shouldn’t sound like college essays. They should stand on their own as personal essays
  • Regarding Classroom Assignments: By all means, feel free to send us classroom assignments if they fit within the parameters of our writer’s guidelines, but make sure they stand on their own as poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Advice and Guidelines Specific to Poetry Submissions

  • A word about centering: It’s mostly the mark of a rookie writer. If you choose to center your poem, you should have a pretty compelling reason for centering it. If your reason is because you think it looks good that way, it’s not a good enough reason.
  • Avoid clichés. Please.
  • Read your work out loud before submitting it to us.
  • A word about profanity in poetry: one swear word goes a heckuva long way. Think carefully before using it. Ask yourself: does the poem gain anything with the word? Does it lose anything with its subtraction.

Advice and Guidelines Specific to Literary Non-Fiction

  • We’re looking for Literary Non-Fiction marked by well-written prose, distinctive voice, and rich detail.
  • LNF should have an informational quality or instructive element that offers the reader something to learn (an idea, concept, or collection of facts, strong with insight, reflection, and interpretation).
  • LNF should be marked by a compelling, focused, sustained narrative that is well-structured, logical, and meaningful.


A student-run national literary magazine for high school writers and editors