Submission Guidelines for Poetry, Fiction, Essays, Book Reviews & Art

Submission period now closed. Reopens January 1, 2021, and runs to July 15, 2021


For poetry and poetry translations, fiction, art & photography, non-fiction, essays, book reviews, and interviews, we invite submission for the forthcoming, regular issues of Able Muse.



Able Muse predominantly publishes metrical poetry and poetry translation complemented by art and photography, fiction and non-fiction including essays, book reviews and interviews with a focus on metrical and formal poetry. We are looking for well-crafted poems of any length or subject that employ skillful and imaginative use of meter and rhyme, executed in a contemporary idiom, that reads as naturally as your free verse poems. All forms of formal poetry are welcome. We will also publish, occasionally, the exceptional  free verse poem. For an example of what we're interested in, check the poetry of Philip Larkin, James Merrill, Elizabeth Bishop, Derek Walcott, Marilyn Hacker, Richard Wilbur, Anthony Hecht....

The best way to become acquainted with any publication is to read its recent issues. We invite you to enjoy and study our online archives or—better yet—to subscribe to Able Muse print edition at the Able Muse Press website here.

Able Muse seeks to publish established as well as new voices. We read everything and publish only the best. Send your best!

Send only previously unpublished poems. No simultaneous submissions, please. Contributions that have already been published or are being considered for publication elsewhere are not eligible to be considered for publication in Able Muse, unless a cross-publishing arrangement has previously been negotiated.


Send 1 to 5 poems and a brief bio. A cover letter would be nice but is not mandatory.  The online submission form is the preferred medium of submission, but we also welcome submission by mail to submission AT ablemuse DOT com. When submitting mutliple poems via email, please we encourage sending us just one email containing all the poems for consideration as opposed to one email per poem. Response time varies from 2 to 12 weeks.

Able Muse also welcomes humorous or light poetry.

We also invite submission of short fiction (maximum of 2 stories per submission, 4000 words or less per story). We will consider longer pieces of exceptional merit. Our emphasis is on literary fiction; Able Muse is not a venue for fantasy, romance, horror, action-adventure, gratuitous violence, or inspirational/sentimental genres.

Also welcome are interviews, book reviews and essays on metrical poetry (maximum of 2 essays per submission, 4000 words or less per essay, but here also, we'll consider longer pieces of exceptional merit,) photography and artwork (black & white preferred, although we will also consider colored work. Submit in JPG or GIF format, or a URL with the images. When sending a URL, please indicate the specific images you are submitting, not just a link to your website or blog.)

Further guidelines for nonfiction are as follows:

  Interviews: should concentrate on a writer's work, ideas and the creative process rather than on (auto)biography. Anecdotes may be tolerated, but in general should be resisted.
  Essays: these are literary critical interpretations and discussions of interpretation and the critical process. They should be about a text(s) and the understanding of that text.
  Book reviews: these are mostly for poetry books, and ocasionally, fiction and nonfiction. The review should show a clear understanding of the subject matter and the craft (or lack thereof), as presented in the book under review, buttressed by pertinent examples as applicable.
  Personal essay or memoir: these can be autobiographical, biographical or topographical, but they should be seen to add to our literary understanding of a time, place or person not an opportunity for "self expression". Again, anecdotes should be resisted.


Able Muse accepts submissions in all genres from January 1 to July 15 yearly. We we endeavor to publish new issues once a year primarily (to twice a year for exceptional occasions). Accepted work of poetry, fiction, nonfiction or art will be targeted to the appropriate forthcoming issue. After making a submission, please do not send us another of the same type until we have had a chance to respond to the previous one.



Able Muse acquires first-time electronic and/or print publication rights. We also reserve the right to republish it in a future electronic and/or print anthology. Back issues are archived indefinitely. All other rights revert to the author six months after publication. In case of republication we ask that you acknowledge Able Muse as the original place of publication.

Able Muse is a not-for-profit publication. For the print edition, we pay in contributors' copies.


Please, track your submissions and our response time on Duotrope.



This is the preferred method of submission --
It's simple and even provides you a means of tracking the status of your submission online. Besides, we will be able to process and respond to your submission faster than with other methods!

Use our online submission system here .




We describe here the email and snail mail submission methods.

(Note that the e-mail submission method is being phased out. We strongly encourage using the online submission method described earlier, which is the preferred method.)

If you still must submit by e-mail, then send your submissions as Word, WordPerfect, HTML, PDF, ASCII attachments (or simply copy 'n paste into the e-mail)  to:

Able Muse submission email


NOTE: WE NO LONGER ACCEPT SNAIL MAIL SUBMISSIONS FOR GENERAL SUBMISSIONS. Submit only using the electronic methods indicated above. The address below is provided as an option ONLY for those entering our contests, the Able Muse Write Prize, and/or the Able Muse Book Prize. Even then we still strongly discourage snail mail submissions and recommend that contest submissions be made through one of the electronic methods indicated above. Any non-contest snail mail submissions will be returned to you, unopened! And you've been warned!

    Alex Pepple, Editor
    Able Muse Review
    467 Saratoga Avenue, #602
    San Jose, CA