Submit a short story, article, or collection of poems

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General Guidelines

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 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.

  • Use a legible font such as Times New Roman, Garamond, or Calibri
  • Submit only original work that has not been published elsewhere. This includes personal blogs, social media, or other published media such as videos or recordings
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please let us know if you work was accepted elsewhere
  • If you have already submitted to The Rumen we ask that you wait three months before submitting to us again.
  • We are not interested in bigoted, homophobic, racist, transphobic, or ableist, dogmatic, right-wing, sexist, closed-minded, unfunny, conservative, or unnecessarily sarcastic works.


We are interested in poetry 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.

  • You may submit up to 5 poems at a time.
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Fan fiction
  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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 works, 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.