Rattle publishes unsolicited poetry and translations of poetry.
Submissions are open year-round, always welcomed, and always free. Despite their growing prevalence in the literary community, we do not believe in submission fees and never will.
Rattle does not accept work that has been previously published, in print or online (we do NOT consider self-publishing to blogs, message boards, or social media as publication with respect to this rule).
Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. If the work is accepted elsewhere, just add a note through Submittable, or, if you submitted in hard copy, email to let us know. We don’t publish anything without your signature, anyway; if another journal beats us to the punch, congratulations!
Contributors in print receive $200/poem and a complimentary one-year subscription to the magazine. Online contributors receive $100/poem.
All free submissions are automatically considered for the annual Neil Postman Award for Metaphor, a $2,000 prize judged by the editors.
We like poems of any length. Send up to four poems at a time. We’re looking for poems that move us, that might make us laugh or cry, or teach us something new. We like both free verse and traditional forms—we try to publish a representative mix of what we receive. We read a lot of poems, and only those that are unique, insightful, and musical stand out—regardless of style. Since our issues include about 70 pages of poetry, one of the main things we’re looking for is diversity; we have enough room to be eclectic, and we plan on using it. So while most magazines suggest reading their back issues to get a sense of what they like to publish, we’d suggest reading to get a sense of what we’re having trouble finding—if you notice a style or subject matter that we don’t seem to be publishing, send us that!
Rattle publishes about 300 poems each year, and almost all of them come from unsolicited submissions. Your submissions keep us going, and we always appreciate them.
Our tributes are usually half-issues but sometimes comprise an entire issue. Each tribute gathers poems from a specific ethnic, vocational, stylistic, or social group. We’re currently seeking submissions from Service Workers for our Fall 2020 issue. The poems may be any style or subject, but must have been written by poets who are currently, or have been, employed as a service worker for a significant period of time. If using Submittable, please be sure to select the Service Workers category. The deadline for this issue is April 15th, 2020.
For more information on future tributes, keep an eye on our call for submissions page.
At least every Sunday we publish one poem online that has been written about a current event that took place the previous week. This is an effort to show how poets react and interact to the world in real time, and to enter into the broader public discourse. To help us stay organized, we request that these poems only be sent to us through the Submittable portal. The deadline for submissions each week is midnight Friday. Payment is $100.
Every month we post a work of visual art for poets to use as inspiration. Poets have one month to write an ekphrastic poem based on that image. The artist and Rattle’s editor then each choose their favorite submission to publish. For more information, and to see the current image and previous winners, visit the Ekphrastic Challenge page.
Please include this information with each submission:
Name, Mailing Address, Phone Number, Email address
If submitting electronically, use the appropriate fields when you upload your file on Submittable, but avoid including your name or contact information anywhere within the file itself. If submitting by mail, only include your name and contact information in the cover letter, not above the poems. We ignore the poet’s name while reading submissions to be as fair as possible, and this makes it easier.
In addition, please send a short contributor note for the author. Your note should tell us who you are and why you love poetry. Our notes section is something that makes issues of Rattle unique, and many say it’s as fun to read as the poetry itself. Contributor notes should be in the first person, and follow the format of this sample:
Erik Campbell: “One afternoon in the summer of 1994 I was driving to work and I heard Garrison Keillor read Stephen Dunn’s poem ‘Tenderness’ on The Writer’s Almanac. After he finished the poem I pulled my car over and sat for some time. I had to. That is why I write poems. I want to make somebody else late for work.” (email address, web address, or Twitter handle goes here at the end if you’d like it included)
Notes in this form are only needed upon acceptance—it doesn’t have to be included with each submission, though we would enjoy it.
Payment for print publication (from us to you in exchange for your work) is $200 and a complimentary one-year subscription to the magazine, including the issue in which your work appears. Contributors also may pre-order additional copies of their issue at our cost to produce. Payment for online-only work is $100.
Rights & Rules
All rights revert to the authors upon publication. To get technical, we require First Rights, meaning we want to be the first publisher to present the poems to the public. This means that we won’t consider poems that have been published in books, magazines, or newspapers, in print or online. We will, however, consider poems that have only been self-published to blogs, message boards, or social media accounts.
Though authors do retain all rights to their work, we post everything we publish on the back-issues section of the website after print publication, and so require Non-Exclusive Electronic Rights.
Response times vary greatly, depending on volume and where we are in the production schedule, and can take anywhere from one to six months, and sometimes longer. Please do not query; we reply to every submission. You can check the status of electronic submissions any time by logging in to your account at Submittable.com.
Please note that it is not possible to revise a poem while it’s being considered. If we decide we’d like to publish any of them, you will have an opportunity to revise author galleys at that time. Please proof-read your work carefully before you submit—but only for the sake of your own sanity. Typos happen; we don’t frivolously discard poems because of them.
Option #1: Submittable (preferred)
Submittable is so convenient for everyone, and the vast majority of submissions have been coming this way, so we’d much prefer if you submit online using this system, which allows you to track the submission and ensures that your poems will never get lost in the mail. If you are able to submit electronically, please use Submittable’s online submission manager:
If you need to send your poems the old fashioned way, include the required information and either a self-addressed, stamped envelope and/or an email address so that we can reply. We much prefer to receive submissions online, but not everyone has internet access (for example, those writing from prison), so this remains an option. Please use Submittable if at all possible. Also note that we will only return poems if the necessary amount of postage has been added to your envelope. For foreign submissions, please do not send International Reply Coupons.
Send the submission directly to our office:
12411 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604