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About

Polyphony Lit

Polyphony Lit is the global online literary platform for high school students. We invite high school students worldwide to submit creative writing, join our editorial staff, write blog posts, take workshops, and grow into leadership roles. Because developing young writers is central to our mission, our editors provide feedback on every submission.

We offer three awards for excellence in writing through the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers, one each in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and the student editors publish an online magazine featuring their favorite pieces from each genre. 

Since our founding in 2004, we've received submissions from students in 84 countries and 52 U.S. states / territories. Our student editors have given feedback to every submission, over 21,000 and counting!

View our 2024 Impact Report

Polyphony Lit is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (2008), incorporated in the State of Illinois.

Editorial Philosophy

In the service of our Mission and Beliefs, we ask our editors to adopt the Polyphony Lit philosophy, which aims to be both encouraging and constructive to emerging writers. We ask our editors to:

  • Believe each writer's words are valuable.

  • Be committed to one aim: helping the author write the best poem, story, or essay they can write.

  • Avoid a cookie-cutter approach to reading for acquisition (editing with an eye toward publication). Our student editors hail from all over the world and represent a variety of cultures and literary tastes which help us create a magazine that we hope will be reflective of the world at large.

  • Give clear and specific feedback about a work's strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Strive to find successes buried in the work of all writers, regardless of their level of experience.

  • Constantly work to acquire more knowledge of literary devices, narrative elements, and poetry forms, which are tools to skillfully encourage richness and clarity.

  • Learn to recognize devices and techniques that make good writing.

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Editorial Process

The Polyphony Lit Editorial Staff, comprised of volunteer high school students from all over the world, provides editorial feedback to every submission, excluding seasonal contest entries, and decides which pieces are accepted for publication in our triannual online and print publications. Each piece is read and commented on by two Junior Editors and one Senior Editor. The final decision on publication is made by an Executive Editor, Genre-Managing Editor, or Editor-in-Chief. At the conclusion of the editing cycle, editorial comments are compiled and sent directly to the submitter. Since we seek to provide editorial training for young writers, our editors also receive feedback on their commentary from other editors.

 

Response time may vary, depending on the size and availability of our volunteer staff, but we are always searching for ways to streamline the process.

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Junior

Editors

  • Are first to read poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions.

  • Write specific and general comments about the piece and then recommend "accept" or "decline."

  • Receive feedback on their commentary from other editors as the piece advances along the editorial pipeline.

  • Sometimes serve as readers for Polyphony Lit's seasonal contests.

Meet 

Our Team

Managerial Team

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David Galloway

Executive Director

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Julian Riccobon

Managing Director

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Shawn Waterman

Operations Manager

Claire Nam
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Claire Nam

Social Media Manager

Chelsea Zhu

Assistant Manager

Founder

billy lobardo

billy lombardo

Founder / Former Managing Editor 

2004 - 2020

Cover and Website Art

 

The drawing collages of Tony Fitzpatrick, an artist, poet and actor, graced the covers of Polyphony Lit (previously known as Polyphony HS) for nine years and appear throughout our website. Tony Fitzpatrick is a Chicago-based artist best known for his multimedia collages, printmaking, paintings, and drawings. Fitzpatrick's work are inspired by Chicago street culture, cities he has traveled to, children's books, tattoo designs, and folk art. Fitzpatrick has authored or illustrated eight books of art and poetry, and, for the last two years has written a column for the Newcity. Fitzpatrick's art appears in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC. The Neville Brothers' album Yellow Moon and the Steve Earle's albums El Corazon and The Revolution Starts Now also feature Fitzpatrick's art. In 1992, Fitzpatrick opened a Chicago-based printmaking studio, Big Cat Press, which exists today as the artist exhibition space Firecats Projects. Before making a living as an artist, Fitzpatrick worked as a radio host, bartender, boxer, construction worker, and film and stage actor. To learn more, visit www.tonyfitzpatrick.com

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About Us Page Art by Julian Riccobon, Yuchen Shi, Maggie Yang, Faith Zhang, Cecilia Yang, Austin Liu, and Tony Fitzpatrick.

"Strangling Blue" by Maggie Yang was previously published in The Adroit Journal, Issue 42.

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