Submissions FAQ

What kind of poetry are you looking for?

We are looking for exceptional poetry from writers who love to work and play with language, who make us see and feel in new ways, and who engage our imaginations.

Copper Canyon Press poets are linked by an editorial vision that understands the audience for poetry to be both broad and diverse: our audience contains multitudes. We believe that we miss out—and that poetry goes missing—when we limit ourselves to any one school of thought or aesthetic.

If you are a translator, we are always looking for poetry in translation. With your submission, please provide biographical information and permissions/rights information on the author you are translating.

We are looking for writers who are also readers. Our poets have a keen understanding of the traditions in which they write and innovate. Go ahead and be a part of a literary tradition: astonish us with the best of what you do.

What kind of poetry don’t you publish?

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about styles or modes of poetry we will not accept, when you spend some time with our catalog and website, you may notice some of our editorial tendencies. For example, in nearly fifty years we’ve only published one book of haiku: a translation of Yosa Buson, one of the world’s masters of the form. We generally aren’t interested in collections of limericks or other light verse. We believe such books are better served by other publishers.

Do you publish poetry in translation?

Copper Canyon Press takes pride in publishing high-quality translations. We have published poetry originally composed in Spanish, Chinese, Belarusian, Japanese, Arabic, and many other languages. We select books in this category based on the excellence of the English translation and our interest in the original text. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with translations we have already published.

How do I know if my manuscript is ready for submission?

We receive a high volume of manuscripts per open reading period, and publish no more than a few from each queue. As such, we appreciate reading manuscripts that have been carefully composed, revised, and proofread, and suggest that you have writer colleagues/strong critics read your collection before submitting it to us. Although it’s not a requirement, we like seeing that individual poems in the manuscript have been published in reputable journals and magazines. This tells us that you take your work seriously, and that others in the literary community advocate for your poems.

Other questions we ask ourselves while reading your work: Does it hold together as a book? Does it thrill? Are there strong and varied poems throughout? Can we imagine enthusiastic readers for these poems? If this is a collection that coheres around a theme, trope, or stylistic constraint, do the poems transcend the project or are they limited by it?

Who will read my manuscript?

Every submission is read, reread, and discussed by our editors and editorial assistants. Currently our acquisitions team includes Editor-in-Chief Michael Wiegers, Editor Elaina Ellis, and Assistant Editor Rio Cortez, with support from our Co-Publishers, Production Editor, and entire staff who are invited to weigh in on strong manuscripts. Additionally, we have a skilled team of interns and editorial assistants who live all over the country; they hold MFA and PhD degrees in creative writing and literature, occupy professional positions both in and far outside publishing, and demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the Copper Canyon aesthetic and vision. All final decisions regarding publication are made by Michael Wiegers.

Why do you charge a fee for submissions?

Without fees, we would not be able to accept unsolicited submissions. These fees go directly toward reading manuscripts and allow us to maintain an editorial staff and infrastructure sufficient to review the submissions. However, rather than charging a typical service fee, we ask you to participate in a reading exchange: when you submit your manuscript and pay $35 on the Submittable system, you will be prompted to choose two books from the Copper Canyon catalogue to add to your library.

By engaging poets and further inviting them into Copper Canyon’s community of writers and readers, we hope to change the old paradigm of publishing. While you’re reading our poetry, we’re reading yours. We hope this feels like a respectful, mutually beneficial transaction.

How many manuscripts will you choose?

There is no set number of books we select for publication; during each submission period we read carefully with the hope that we will find one or more books to publish.

I submitted my manuscript and later revised it. May I submit the revised one?

If you have already submitted a manuscript, do not send us the latest version unless invited by an editor to do so. If your book is not selected, please wait for a future reading period to resubmit (see below).

May I submit again next period?

We do not recommend that you submit the same manuscript to us two reading periods in a row.

I submitted my manuscript but still haven’t heard back. Why?

Copper Canyon Press editors read and respond to every manuscript that we receive through Submittable. Some go through multiple rounds of consideration. It takes time to give each submission the attention it deserves. Most poets will hear back within six months of submission, but there are exceptions to this timeline. Thank you for your patience.

Is this a contest?

With the exception of the APR/Honickman First Book Award, this is an open reading period, not a contest. As such, there are no finalists, and no one winner. Publication is offered on a rolling basis rather than on a regular calendar. The Copper Canyon Press open reading period is a way for us to expand and enhance our extraordinary list of authors on an ongoing basis.

Do you have a question that we did not answer? Please contact us.