The Cincinnati Review welcomes submissions from writers at any point in their careers. We read between September 1 and March 1.
We accept online submissions here. (Sorry, we no longer accept submissions through regular mail.) Our typical response time is six months, though we may take longer on occasion. Please don’t query until after a year: Our submission manager system keeps the process reliable, so if it says your piece is “received,” it is still under consideration.
Current and former students, faculty, and staff of the University of Cincinnati or their families are ineligible to submit unless they are more than two years removed from their affiliation with the university.
From June 1 through July 15 of each summer, we consider stories, poems, and literary nonfiction for the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose.
Please submit up to six poems or a total of ten manuscript pages at a time. Poet’s name and contact information should appear at the top of every poem. You may withdraw individual poems from a batch of submissions by contacting us at editors [at] cincinnatireview [dot] com or using the contact form on this website.
Submissions should be no more than forty double-spaced pages. Include name and contact information at the beginning of the work.
We’re interested mostly in pieces of nonfiction less than twenty double-spaced pages, though you can try us for longer pieces if you think they’ll knock our socks off. Include name and contact information at the beginning of the essay.
If you’d like to be considered for our stable of reviewers, feel free to send a sample review of a book of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. We encourage longer, single-book reviews of around fifteen hundred words.
The Cincinnati Review publishes a translation feature in each issue, including several pages of work by a living poet, along with a brief essay about the poet. We do not publish the originals. Translators should secure rights to translate before submitting. We prefer to see a good-sized sample of work (10-20 pp.) in a submission, but there’s no need to send the introductory essay until the work is accepted, when we’ll also ask for some brief biographical information about the poet and the translator. We don’t publish translations outside of the feature.
The Cincinnati Review is looking for portfolios of artwork to feature in upcoming issues. We consider all forms of art and ask that artists submit twenty low-res. images for our perusal. Please send these images or a link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We usually feature a single artist in each issue with one work appearing on the cover and eight additional images in an interior portfolio printed in full color on a high gloss stock. Upon publication we pay a small honorarium and ten contributor copies, with additional copies available at a discount.
Payment / Terms
$25/page for prose
$30/page for poetry
The Cincinnati Review acquires first North American serial rights, including electronic rights; all rights revert to author upon publication.
A Few Words from the Editors
The Cincinnati Review is quite eclectic in its approach and accepts poems of all sorts, so there’s no real “type” of poem I could say I look for. All kinds of poems interest us in different ways. When I’m reading for the magazine, I like to consider what a poem is asking of me in its own terms and judge it on the basis of both that aim, if you will, and how well it achieves that aim. Clearly we’re interested in a certain boldness in new work, a certain energy. But that energy can come across in many ways: a fresh subject, but also a fresh look at a traditional subject, or a fresh take on conventions of style or voice. On one level or another, all the poems we accept have surprised me—sometimes flamboyantly, sometimes more subtly; they did something I didn’t expect, and did it with craft and imagination.
John Updike once said of Vladimir Nabokov, “Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.” That’s the kind of fiction I’m looking to publish in Cincinnati Review. I know what you’re thinking: “Write like Nabokov,” not very helpful as far as helpful hints go. But what I mean is I’m looking for work that has energy, that has complication (which is different than obfuscation or confusion); I’m looking for work that, whether it’s realistic or surrealistic, is rich in language and plot and structure. Work that stands out. Work that’s not just ecstatic, but that makes its reader feel ecstatic, too.
The Cincinnati Review seeks factually accurate literary nonfiction that is deeply engaged in literary craft; that is, writing where style and form matter just as much as the subject, and where the work engages character, story, and emotion just as well as the most compelling novel or short story. We encourage submissions in the essay, memoir, literary journalism, travel writing, and other subgenres, as well as hybrid forms that experiment with genre, structure, and voice. Susan Sontag defined a writer as someone who pays attention to the world. Take that idea a step further and consider Joan Didion’s words: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” We are looking for literary nonfiction that explores a line of inquiry into the real world through the eye and mind of the writer. More specifically, we seek work that speaks to the heart and stays with us long after we’ve reached the last page.