The Rumen


The rumen is our favorite portion of the cow’s stomach. It is here that gut microbes facilitate fermentation of ingested foodstuffs. It is here that all those difficult cereals and grasses, those hard-to-process things, start to break down. We like to think of literature as a sort of rumen, that narrow tunnel where things accrue, sit, on their way to something elemental.


We at The Rumen publish works that move in the conceptual, that draw the tangential lines between condition and potential. We seek work that blends neoclassical ideas with urban grunge, the high concepts of reality mixed with the low reductions of fantasy. Like the aforementioned digesta, we want things that find new meaning when thrust through the reticulum of the written word. We want humor, horror, strange fixations, canvases upended, bodies broken down cell by cell. We know, we know, there are plenty of submission guidelines with similarly vague poetasting out there. The fact is we don’t always know what we want until we see it, until we sit with it a while—ruminate on it, if you will.

General Guidelines:
  • Use a legible font such as Times New Roman, Garamond, or Calibri
  • DO NOT include any personal information such as name, email, or other contact info on your submitted documents
  • Submit only original work that has not been published elsewhere. This includes personal blogs, social media, or other published media such as videos
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please let us know if you work was accepted elsewhere
  • We are not interested in bigoted, homophobic, racist, transphobic, or ableist, dogmatic, right-wing, sexist, closed-minded, unfunny, conservative, or unnecessarily sarcastic works.


For poetry we are interested in works that emphasize craft. We want poems with interesting forms, strong sonics, and striking images flawlessly rendered. Traditional forms are welcome but we lean more toward works that take risks and challenge notions of traditional poetics. We especially appreciate conceptual poems that do a few things really well rather than many things with mediocrity.

Poetry Guidelines:
  • You may submit up to 5 poems at a time. If you have already submitted to The Rumen we ask that you wait three months before submitting to us again.
  • Each poem should not exceed two pages or 1000 words.

We are not interested in:
  • Long-form confessional poetry
  • Generic pastoral/nature poetry
  • Anything reliant on cliches, vague poetic nothings, hyperminimalist sentences broken into lines (aka Instagram poetry

We love a good rhyme, but you should be confident in your use of meter/prosody. An off rhyme is far worse than no rhyme at all.


We at The Rumen publish strange, high concept stories with expert framing. We want tales that project themselves beyond the confines of their word limits, with extra believable or unbelievable characters, and balanced prose that demonstrates equal mastery of action and imagery. Our favorite stories leave us with as many questions as answers, so don’t be afraid to weave in your best literary ambiguity. That being said, the purely aesthetic can be a hard sell, so consider closely before sending us your experimental dystopian cyber-thrillers.

Fiction Guidelines:
  • We accept both short fiction and flash fiction up to 5,000 words. If your story is a little over the limit, that’s okay, just make note in your submission

We are not interested in:
  • Erotica, saccharine romance, stories of YA likeness
  • Fanfiction
  • Generic High Fantasy and Star Wars-adjacent Sci-Fi
  • Children’s or middle grade-style fiction (we make an exception for original folktales)
  • Transgressive stories for transgression’s sake.


We especially love works dealing with the arts, history, philosophy, sciences, and anything that combines these fields. Thoughtful analyses of film, literature, music, or the like are also welcome. Memoir or personal essays can teach us a lot about ourselves, and we ask that submissions in these genres have a strong central theme or moral. Works of a semi-academic or political nature will require citations, preferably in MLA format.

Non-fiction Guidelines:
  • We accept personal essay, memoir, think pieces, critical analyses, and similar articles up to 5,000 words. If your story is a little over the limit, that’s okay, just make note in your submission. Any submissions requiring citations should be formatted according to the MLA Style Manual.

We are not interested in:
  • Memoir or family histories absent of narrative or overarching theme
  • Book, film, or other media reviews are a hard sell though we can be swayed by interesting critical studie
  • Self-help, motivational, evangelical works, how-to guides

We aren’t opposed to political diatribes but it should be noted that works advocating for capitalist, exploitative, imperialistic, and alt-right ideologies are not our cup of cud


The Rumen is seeking visual media that explores shifting perspectives and allows for multiple avenues of interpretation. We are especially drawn to the experimental and we would like to see pieces whose interpretations unfold with time. We do not equate craft with skill, and we prioritize works that can stand in dialogue with written pieces ready for publication.

Visual Art Guidelines:
  • For all visual submissions we require an accompanying artist statement of 100-200 words
  • For 2D art, submit an image (PNG 300ppi)
  • For 3D art, 3 photos for on-the-round, 5 for installation/environment (PNG 300ppi)

We are not interested in:
  • Fan art or illustrations from other media
  • Concept art for original characters or setting
  • Erotica/Pornography
  • Nature/Landscape Photography that could pass for stock images
  • AI Generated Art
  • Work otherwise unfit for a digital format

We aren’t opposed to political diatribes but it should be noted that works advocating for capitalist, exploitative, imperialistic, and alt-right ideologies are not our cup of cud

Have a question or comment? Contact us.

Submit a story, article, or collection of poems.

.docx, .doc, or .pdf

Submit an image

.jpg, .png

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