Submission Guidelines

Writer Qualifications

  • High school students from anywhere in the world are eligible to submit.

  • Works must be written in English.

  • Submit a maximum of three pieces across the three genres.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions and work that has been published elsewhere. When you submit previously published work, please note that the work was previously published, where and when it is being published, and if it is eligible for republication. If it is accepted for publication elsewhere after submitting to Polyphony Lit, you must notify us immediately. If we choose to accept a previously published submission for publication, we will acknowledge the site of the original publication.

  • Pieces that have been published elsewhere are not eligible for the Claudia Ann Seaman Award for Young Writers.


  • Poetry with up to 80 lines is eligible.

  • Fiction and creative non-fiction must be 1,800 words or less, double-spaced.

  • Submissions that exceed limits will not be accepted.


  • Do not put your name on the piece, as all work is blind juried.

  • Poetry should be formatted flush left unless another format, such as centering, is an integral part of the piece's meaning.

  • We accept submission in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats.

  • We prefer common conventions:

    • Color: Black & white

    • Font Size: 12 pt throughout, including titles

    • Font Type: Times or Times New Roman

    • Margins: 1-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 meaningful reason for the extra space.


  • Please upload submissions through Submittable. We do not accept email submissions or hard copies via mail.

  • Upload only one piece per submission file; to submit more than one piece, make more than one submission file.

  • If you submit a revision of a piece that has already been returned to you, type the abbreviation (REV), in parentheses, after the title you enter.​

  • There is no fee to submit.

Guidelines for Creative Nonfiction

  • Because of the flexibility of form that marks much of Literary Nonfiction, the genre is not easily defined; the closest phrase that comes to what we’re looking for at Polyphony Lit is the “personal essay,” as defined very capably by Philip Lopate, the editor of “The Art of the Personal Essay.” We are looking for pieces that are informal, flexible in form, and most importantly, personal, quite unlike the more formal critical essay. Personal discovery is the keystone of a personal essay. Self-revelation, human experiences, humor, and flexibility of form are all aspects that we look for in pieces we publish as creative non-fiction.

  • Some of the pieces we receive that are not quite creative nonfiction (literary nonfiction) are op-ed pieces, critical analyses, college essays that are clearly college essays and little more, and essays written for history classes.

  • We would advise reading some samples of our work, in order to understand the type of material that we publish. Here are some samples of creative nonfiction that we have published recently:

  • Memories of the Boy I Didn't Know

  • responses to love

  • Holiday in a Burning City

"I was pretty much expecting
to be rejected when I submitted
my essay on a whim, but the comments are actually a huge boost of confidence. The thoughtful, detailed, and constructive edits I was given helped immensely."

— Sandra C.