Witches & Pagans Poetry Guidelines
Witches&Pagans covers the Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan and polytheist communities; our readership includes Gaians, Pagans, Scientific Pantheists, Quakers, Christians, atheists, and others. Witches&Pagans gladly accepts contributions of poetry relevant to our subject matter and goals. Please include your preferred contact information and a brief bio with all submissions. We need your check-cashing name, pen name if you use one, postal address, email address, phone number, and a brief bio. Put that at the top of the manuscript itself, not just the email message to which the file is attached. We cannot accept submissions without a way to reach you! See our general guidelines for details about anonymity.
Magazine Needs: Witches&Pagans accepts poetry in a wide range of forms and styles, but we are very selective. (We have to be; we only have room for a few poems per issue, and we receive a lot more than that.) The technical aspects of your work must be flawless. If it's supposed to have a specific meter or number of syllables, count them on your fingers if that's what it takes. If it's supposed to rhyme, the rhymes should be perfect unless you deliberately use near-rhyme in a consistent way. If you can’t handle rhyme or meter well, try free verse instead. If you use a specific form, such as a sonnet, then you must follow its rules precisely.
Please make sure you send us material relevant to our coverage. We get a lot of feminist, fluffy New Age, Christian, and random literary poems that we can’t use. We rarely use straight nature poetry, either, which is probably our biggest single category of off-topic submissions. Poetry for Witches&Pagans needs to have a definite spiritual/magical aspect, and usually – though not always – a Pagan motif. Poetry matching one of our upcoming themes is especially welcome.
General Tips: Writing good poetry takes practice, so don’t be surprised if it takes you several attempts before we accept one of your poems. Although Witches&Pagans has very high standards for acceptance, you do not have to be published or even experienced to submit material for our consideration, so take a chance and show us what you can do. Here are some helpful ideas on expanding your poetic knowledge and skills:
1) Get to know poetry. The more you read, the better your discernment will get, telling you what’s good and what’s not. Read both classic and contemporary poetry, especially in the field(s) you want to write. 2) Study the literary techniques used in poetry so that you understand how they're supposed to work. Then you’ll have a better idea what can go wrong and how to fix it, when it comes time to revise your poems. 3) Talk about poetry with other poets, editors, and Pagans. It's fun, and broadens your analytical skills. An ideal way to do this is to join a poet’s group, or a general writer’s group that welcomes poets. There you can have discussions and critique each other’s work. 4) Watch for poetry workshops, panels, readings, and other activities at whatever magical/spiritual events you attend. With the right group of people, you can learn a lot in just one or two hours. 5) Don't be afraid if an editor requests changes in a poem you’ve submitted; you can discuss whether or not you agree. Don't be afraid to edit your own poetry. In fact, don't be afraid of poetry.
Length: Usually we publish short to medium poems, but a really good poem has a chance even if it's longer. We suggest a maximum length of 100 lines per poem; please bear in mind that we are more likely to publish shorter rather than longer poems, as Witches&Pagans does not specialize in this type of writing. The average length for a poem is 22 lines; most are between 20-30 lines; we’ve published a few gems under 15 lines. Ideally a poem should fit in one column of one page. Witches&Pagans usually prints 2-5 poems per issue.
Compensation: As a community resource, Witches&Pagans does not pay cash for submissions, but we will send you two (2) copies of the issue in which your poetry appears, as well as a 1 year (3 issues) subscription. Other exchanges, such as gift subscriptions or advertising space, may be discussed with the editor, Anne Newkirk Niven.
Rights: Witches&Pagans requires the following rights for publication: onetime digital and periodical rights for publication in a single issue of the magazine (in its print and digital formats). All other rights revert to the author.
Submissions: Include a cover letter with your contact information and a few words about yourself. Witches&Pagans does not accept simultaneous submissions, nor unsolicited reprints or reworkings. Submit 3-5 poems at a time. The best format is an rtf file attached to an email message; another good one is plain text pasted directly into an email message. Submissions should go to:
Anne Newkirk Niven
P O Box 687
Forest Grove, OR 97116.