Canberra Times Poetry Submissions

The Canberra Times publishes one poem per week, in the Saturday edition of the paper (in the Arts pull-out section, Panorama).

The paper strives to publish poems on a wide variety of themes while at the same time maintaining a balance between ACT region and interstate / overseas poets, emerging and established poets, poets who have published in the Canberra Times before and those who have not, between male and female poets, and between poets from different cultural backgrounds.

To encourage a diverse contributor base, we also aim to leave a 9 to 12 month period between publications for repeat poets.

The Canberra Times is open for poetry submissions two to three times a year, for two weeks at a time. Previous contributors are notified when the paper is about to start taking poems, and the submissions period is also publicised through the usual social media channels.

The address for submissions is

For poems which are accepted, we do attempt to let poets know roughly when their poem is scheduled to run, however this is subject to change without notice. We suggest that if you are able to purchase the Canberra Times where you live, you support the paper that supports poetry by buying it every Saturday (rather than just on the Saturday your poem appears).

For poets who do not live in Canberra or southern NSW and who are unable to purchase a hard copy of the paper, we offer a .pdf clipping service so that you can see your poem as it appeared on publication day. If you are in this category the editor will contact you to confirm where you would like your .pdf sent.

General Editorial Policy

We are open to poems in most styles and on most subject matters. However please note the following:

·       We can only take poems 28 lines or under (not counting the title and stanza breaks). Longer poems will be rejected without further feedback.

·       Please do not submit poems outside the designated submission periods - they will be rejected without further feedback.

·       Poems must be previously unpublished.

·        Multiple submissions are allowed (and encouraged). The maximum number per poet per period is 3. If submitting more than one poem please put them all into the same word or .pdf file, or copy them into the same email.
·       If submitting a poem as a word or .pdf attachment please give it a meaningful title, preferably containing your name (i.e. 'Michelle Li PoemName' not 'Canberra_Times_Poem.doc').

·       You will be notified by email of the fate of your submission within 6 weeks of the close of the submission period.
·       We select poems several months in advance, so if submitting in spring, for example, do not limit yourself to poems with a spring theme. We are also looking for summer, autumn and winter-themed poems. We do receive a lot of seasonally-themed poems so yours will have to be excellent and / or very different in order to be selected.

·       We are not averse to poems with political themes, but bear in mind these are particularly difficult to do well, and also may date very quickly - so quickly that a poem written in August may no longer be relevant come December. Using the names of actual political leaders is one thing that can exacerbate rapid ageing of political poems, so avoid this unless absolutely necessary.

·       Poems about ‘Being A Poet’ are unlikely to be selected. If you must write these, please save them for the little magazines and journals which are read almost exclusively by Other Poets. The readership of The Canberra Times is literate, educated, and interested in the arts and culture, but most of them are Not Poets. Surely you have something else of interest to say to them ? Similarly unlikely to be selected are poems in the closely related genre 'Poem about My Dear Friend X Who Is Also A Poet'.

·       Other themes we see a lot of are 'My Holiday to X' and 'My Garden'. Of course there will always be room for poems like this, particularly in a forum for general readers like the Canberra Times, however yours will have to be excellent and / or novel in order to stand out in the submission pile.

·       Please try to edit your poems thoroughly before submitting them. We receive hundreds of poems every submission round and those which do not require any editing are the most likely to be successful. Having said that, the editor has been known to suggest changes to a poem that is 'almost there' in order to bring it up to publication standard - but this is not common and mostly occurs when the poem has exceptional potential.

·       Remember you are submitting poems for a general (literate but non-specialist) readership. Your poem can be as dense and as clever as you like, but please leave a way for the general reader to enter it.

Thank you for taking the time to read these guidelines. We look forward to reading your poems.

The Poetry Editor
The Canberra Times

(guidelines last updated 18 April 2017)

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