Join Our Editorial Staff
We invite high school students worldwide to join our Polyphony Lit Editorial Staff. All levels of experience are welcome — from beginner to expert.
Working on staff with over 300 other student editors will advance your literary skills, provide a deep understanding of what a mutually beneficial writer-editor relationship is about, connect you to peers from all over the world, and prepare you for any endeavor where precise communication is valued. We offer opportunities for advancement and leadership positions for those who are interested.
Our editors also have the opportunity to contribute to our Voices blog. Check out these two posts especially relevant to prospective editors:
To start, all new editors must complete our online training course, "How to be a Literary Editor." This three-hour, self-paced, on-demand course offers a short introduction to the craft of editing poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, explains how to format commentary, and provides an overview of the Polyphony Lit process and editing philosophy.
The cost of the training is $75 (financial aid is available*).
Another option for training is the intensive Summer Scholars Program, which runs for 8 weeks each summer. Summer Scholars augments the online training with live lectures and discussions, mentoring, personal feedback and exposure to issues in literary publishing.
*We are a nonprofit and seek to keep our costs low, but in order to offer quality curriculum and personal feedback, there is a cost to join. If you are unable to pay, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the commitment? We ask that editorial staff commit to commenting on thirty submissions each volume season. When there are times you are too busy to edit, like during exam period or soccer season, put yourself on the inactive list and then rejoin when you are able.
Do I need experience? Most students who join us are avid readers and/or writers, but we do not expect that you have editing experience. We ask that students be open to editing all three genres: poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.
What if I know nothing about poetry? Worries about low poetry IQ might be the most common concern we hear. Our online course will help get you started on how to approach poetry and the most common literary devices used to understand the work.
How will I learn to edit? Our online workshop will provide you with the entry level skills to be a First Reader. But the real learning takes place as you tackle submissions, see the work of other editors, and receive feedback on your own commentary from other editors.
Also, check out the blog where editors discuss a range of editing challenges and tips. Grace Yue's excellent blog entry "Avoiding Intimidating Yourself" to gain some perspective on how valuable your contribution as a peer editor, with any level of experience, can be.
What is the editorial schedule? There are opportunities for editorial work all year long. Our submissions are open from July 1–April 30, but we work through the summer to respond to all submissions and publish our annual magazine.
Is there opportunity for advancement? Yes! Meritorious promotion takes into consideration your commitment to the editing process and the skill and thoughtfulness of your editing. Each editorial role has different responsibilities, so advancement is also an opportunity to learn new skills. We also offer opportunities to write for the blog, serve on our Junior Board, and participate in virtual community events.
"Serving on Polyphony has undoubtedly been one of the best and most influential highlights of my high school career."
— Alice X.
"The experience of being on Polyphony is something I won’t ever forget. I’m thankful for the people it brought me close to, for its surprises and constant inspiration, for all the ways it taught me to express Oh man, I love this piece! I’m thankful to have been a part of something that goes so far beyond whatever words I can use to describe it."