Ploughshares welcomes unsolicited submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction during our regular reading period, which runs from June 1 to January 15. The literary journal is published four times a year: mixed issues of poetry and prose in the Spring and Winter, a prose issue in the summer, and a longform prose issue in the Fall, with two of the four issues per year guest-edited by a different writer of prominence.
Guest editors are invited to solicit up to half of their issues, with the other half selected from manuscripts submitted to the journal and screened for them by staff editors. This guest-editor policy, which we have used since our founding in 1971, is designed to introduce readers to different literary circles and tastes, and to offer a fuller representation of the range and diversity of contemporary letters than would be possible with a single editorship. We expect every issue to reflect our overall standards of literary excellence.
We do not recommend trying to target specific guest editors. Our backlog is unpredictable, and staff editors ultimately have the responsibility of determining for which editor a work is most appropriate. We strongly suggest that you examine one or two issues of Ploughshares before submitting.
We accept submissions to the journal from June 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017. To submit to the journal, please see our guidelines here.