Iron Horse Literary Review publishes short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

General Guidelines:

• All manuscripts must be submitted online, via Submittable. We do not accept submissions via regular mail or email.

• Our submission gates open and close on a rolling basis between mid-August and mid-April each year. Please observe our submission periods; we reject manuscripts that do not fit the theme or genre of that submission period. See the table on our website for dates and topics. If the gate is not open, do not attempt to submit by purchasing a back issue or any other item. Wait till the gate is open.

• We do not publish previously published materials.

• Regular submissions: Prose writers should send one manuscript (5,500 words or less); poets should send 3-5 poems.

• Longer manuscripts must be entered in our annual Trifecta Competition (Prose: one essay or story, 25-40 pages; poetry: a single poem, 10-20 pages long). We reject long manuscripts that come in during any other submission period.

• We review only three manuscripts by any one author during any one academic year; subsequent manuscripts by the same author will be automatically rejected.

• Iron Horse accepts simultaneous submissions but please inform us immediately if a submission is taken elsewhere. Just send us a note through Submishmash or via email: ihlr.mail@gmail.com.

• Upon publication, we provide an honorarium of $50 per poem or flash piece and $100 per story or essay. Trifecta winners (one each in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction) receive $250. The Single-Author Chapbook winner receives $1,000. Prizes for film fest winners include $300 (Editor's Prize) and $200 (Audience Award).

• Please include a cover letter with your name, email address, and the title(s) of work submitted. Enter your cover letter into the appropriate field inside Submittable. Do not include your cover letter inside your manuscript. We will immediately REJECT manuscripts including cover letters.

We recommend that you familiarize yourself with IHLR before you submit your work. Find more about the current issue as well as subscription information on our website.

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For further information on any topic, send us an email.

Iron Horse Literary Review charges a $3 submission fee for each regular manuscript submitted to our office (our various competitions have entry fees). Like every literary journal in the country, we're compelled to demonstrate that we are both a fruitful project, with many benefits, as well as self-sufficient rather than a drain on limited funds. Together, with your help, we can keep the literary arts alive, and we hope you will be happy to spend $3 for your submission rather than giving that money to an office supply store and the post office.

Thank you for your continued support of Iron Horse! Without writers, we wouldn't even exist--




Ends on January 31, 2018$3.00
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Iron Horse publishes fiction that earns a deliberate rather than dismissive read. To this end, we look for fiction that was written carefully, demonstrates a mature understanding of literature, and reveals the writer’s control over language and narrative. We do not accept work that merely conveys an emotion. The story must be crafted by a skilled writer and engage the reader’s intelligence, imagination, and sense of humanity. More specifically, we enjoy stories with developed characters, consistent points-of-view, vivid and symbolic settings, true dialogue, thought-provoking themes, and believable plots (even when situated in fabulism). A good fiction writer also knows how to use figurative language, the sound of words, and the rhythm of prose sentences—techniques that grant prose the musical qualities of poetry. We're looking to include a range of voices and experiences.

For our print issues, we read flash and stories up to 6,000 words. Longer stories should be submitted for our annual Trifecta, not here. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if the story is taken elsewhere the moment that happens.

Ends on January 31, 2018$3.00
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Iron Horse publishes creative nonfiction that addresses specific but universal truths, whether literary journalism, memoir, or personal essay. To this end, we look for essays conveyed in such exact detail that the specific blossoms into the universal. We enjoy nonfiction that offers believable characters, a true narrative voice, a consistent tone, vivid and symbolic imagery, thought-provoking themes, and poetic language. We expect the writers whose prose we publish to demonstrate an understanding of figurative language, the sound of words, and the rhythm of prose sentences. We are particularly interested in essays that make use of nontraditional scaffolding to convey stories frequently stifled by traditional narrative methods. We're looking to include a range of voices and experiences.

We do not publish works which analyze literature or focus upon scholarly interests.

For our print issues, we read flash and essays up to 6,000 words. Longer nonfiction manuscripts should be submitted for our annual Trifecta, not here. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if the manuscript is taken elsewhere the moment that happens.


Ends on January 31, 2018$3.00
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Iron Horse publishes poetry that transforms the ordinary into amazing insight. We hope the poems in Iron Horse do not merely attempt to evoke an emotional response but also engage the reader’s intelligence. We select poems written by skilled poets who know how to manipulate diction, line breaks, meter, rhyme, voice, and tone as a way of controlling a poem’s overall meaning. A good poet understands how contemporary poets build upon, enhance, expand, and even question the tradition. We're particularly interested in poets pushing boundaries and finding ways for language to do what we didn't realize it could do: speak the unspeakable, share the unshareable. We most admire poets who are fierce and willing to reach in order to find their own voice and shake up the poetry world.

We do not have length requirements for poetry, though we will not print any poem that severely limits the number of other poems we can include in each issue.

Submitters should place all poems they want us to consider in ONE file. Do not send multiple files.


Ends on January 31, 2018$5.00
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It’s been a long, rough year, and we’re playing catch-up. We’ve almost managed to reach the line where we planned to finish 2017, and we will get there by December 31, when we release our annual PhotoFinish e-single. But doesn’t it seem that for a long while, way longer than a year, there’s been one emergency after another, one crisis after another? For us here at Iron Horse, the gale-force winds aren’t all coming from the White House, though, certainly, that’s where the vortex is spinning in the tightest, most destructive circles. Our phone calls to senators won’t slow down as we move into 2018, but we can breathe a bit now, in relief, having caught up here in the office.

There were a couple of three weeks where I wanted to throw up my hands and quit—I would never catch up!—but around that time, I was watching my father, who had been near-deathly ill in the month of August, fight to come back to living. Some days in his jeans and cowboy boots, and some days in sweatpants in sneakers, he hobbled off to physical therapy, where, at the age of eighty, he was working hard to “recondition” his lungs, which apparently forgot how to empty and fill all those days he was stretched out in a hospital bed. Who knew that your lungs could forgot their only assigned task after so many years of doing it almost involuntarily?

Every time I was worried that I wasn’t capable of catching up, I watched my father sit astride a stationary bike or walk circles around a large room, struggling to breathe but never giving up. Once, he even bounced a balloon with another elderly gent, a silly game my father hated playing, but he didn’t quit until the nurse told him he had completed his minutes of exercise. He doesn’t like all the doctor’s appointments and all the new prescriptions, either. Most importantly, though he weighs barely more than me, must have a stomach the size of a baked potato, he guzzles four quarts of water every day, doctor’s order, and goes to bed at night with a belly that’s so full of slosh I don’t see how he gets comfortable enough to sleep. But every day, he dresses and goes; he swallows those pills; he pours and drinks the water.

And it’s not just him. My mom, too, has taken on household chores she’s never done: taking out the trash, emptying the cat’s litter box, buying all the groceries, running all the errands, filling the car up, etc., etc. She’s exhausted, too, her face shuttered with weariness on the worst of days. But she rises every morning, does it again every day. She never gives up.

So here we are, releasing 19.4, which should have come out in September, and you’ll discover that 19.5 will arrive in your mailboxes on the very heels of 19.4, and then 19.6 on the very heels of 19.5. Rapid succession. The work inside all three issues is superb, and we’ve added some new columns in our Miscellany.

Next year, so we can be the activists we wish to be, and so we can care for our families, and so we can release more online (and free!) work, and so we can design each issue with more care, we’re dropping back to four print issues a year: NaPoMo, the Chapbook issue, one themed issue, and one open issue. We’ll also still continue to publish our PhotoFinish on New Year’s Eve and our Trifecta every summer. We’re simply dropping one print issue to give us some room to breathe, to make the connections with the people in our lives that we cherish the most.

We hope that even though the last three issues of Volume 19 will drop so quickly, one after the other, that you will read all of the very good work in these pages. In this issue, Lucas Southworth, who won our Discovered Voices Award so many years ago, returns to our pages with a haunting but humorous story about love between opposites. In Kathlene Postma’s flash story, a woman paints the open doorway through which her boyfriend will surely leave her—and she hopes he goes. Cheryl J. Fish, in “Strike-Slip Fault,” incorporates the science of earthquakes into her story about two cousins who fail to care for another cousin, their world shaken to pieces by the consequences.

The poems here, in particular, use such great metaphors and imagery: the wife propped on a stick in the middle of a field in Chelsea Dingman’s “The Wife as Scarecrow,” a couple jumping from a hot air balloon in Paige Lewis’s “Diorama of Thin Air,” and a clutch of girls eavesdropping on their mothers in Samantha Collier’s “Girlhood After Girlhood.” So many connections missed, broken, forsaken, longed for. In many ways, IHLR 19.4 is an issue of love, whether failing or thriving.

Thanks to all of our contributors for their patience and for sharing with us such beautiful work. It’s a tremendous gift, our job here at IHLR.

We’ll see you again, dear readers, and very, very soon.
  
Leslie Jill Patterson, Editor


Please be aware that our physical office is closed for the Christmas holidays. We'll reopen again come the second week of January. All purchases will be filled at that time-- Thank you for your patience.


Ends on January 31, 2018$5.00
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"Part expose, part crime thriller, A Guest of the Program is a seamless immersion into the corruption underlying college football and its recruitment practices. Even for readers uninterested in the sport itself, this collection of stories simply can't be put down. It has a voice, clearly delineated points of view, and a tangible, often excruciating setting. But its primary strength is the dark presence of its main characters combined with the inventiveness and accuracy of its prose."

--Dennis Covington, author of Revelation and Salvation on Sand Mountain


"In the American South, football exists as a secular religion, with its own unique rituals and practices. Christopher Lowe's A Guest of the Program provides an intimate portrait of what football and sports mean to many southerners, but these compelling and sometimes gritty stories do much more than reflect on the perils and glories of the gridiron. In these pages, Lowe presents a well-rounded portrait of people and southern places rooted in tradition while navigating the daily pitfalls of modern life."

--W. Ralph Eubanks, author of Ever is a Long Time and The House at the End of the Road

"Christopher Lowe knows the world he's writing about inside-out, and these stories are filled with truth, along with vivid characters and crackling prose. This is a collection to savor, and Lowe is a writer to keep an eye on."

-Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World and The Oxygen Man


Please be aware that our physical office is closed for the holidays. We'll reopen again come the second week of January. All purchases will be filled at that time-- Thank you for your patience.


$18.00
A year's subscription, for only $18, includes a complete volume of Iron Horse: 5 print issues and 1 electronic issue, PLUS an additional print issue in the next volume.

Complete the form in order to ensure that you receive your subscription in a timely and accurate fashion.

Thank you for supporting IHLR, our contributors, and the literary arts. Without subscribers, we wouldn't exist!
$30.00
A 2-year subscription, for only $30, includes two complete volumes: 10 prints issues and 2 electronic issues, PLUS two additional print issues.

To receive your subscription in a timely, accurate fashion, make sure you complete the form.

Thank you for supporting IHLR, our contributors, and the literary arts! Without subscribers, we wouldn't exist!

Back issues are $5 each. Complete the form to make sure you receive the issue you want in a timely fashion.

Thank you for supporting IHLR, our contributors, and the literary arts!

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Make sure you complete the order form as well as providing your billing information.

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Besides entering your billing information, please make sure to complete the sales form to ensure the timely delivery of the issues you want.

Thank you for supporting IHLR, our contributors, and the literary arts! We appreciate it!
In 2009, at AWP in Chicago, a group named MotionPoems mounted a television near the elevator bank and aired some of their cutting-edge collaborations—poets and video artists working together to animate terrific poems. While everyone was rushing around to various sessions, I stood in front of that TV, mesmorized. Then when TriQuarterly switched from print production to an electronic format, I found its collection of video literature, curated at the time by John Bresland and containing primarily video essays but also several cinepoems.

Every time I chanced upon some new video literature, I was enthralled . . . the way a good documentary or feature film can make me forget it’s daylight outside the theater. Added to that magic was the voiceover, a narrator speaking directly to me, with all the poetry and finesse and artistry that I love about great literary writers.

If you asked me in the beginning to explain what video literature is, I would have turned directly to then IHLR Managing Editor, Landon Houle, who had explained it to a local talk-radio DJ: it’s similar to Paul Harvey’s “Like a Farmer” commercial, the ad that aired during Super Bowl XLVII and was so wildly popular that it spawned a slew of “artsy” commercials in the next two Super Bowls. Now, I can also tell you that video literature involves the juxtaposition of words with surprising images—there’s a conversation happening between language and picture in these pieces. And I also know that you can produce a piece of video literature on your cell phone or using the software that comes standard on every laptop or desktop computer these days. Try it!

Since 2013, IHLR has held an annual filmfest, and for the first time last year, it sold out. Here, in our inaugural DVD issue, we’ve collected our favorite pieces from those three festivals. We include video essays from Jacob Cutler, Joe Dornich, Paul Hunton, Joseph Johnston, Laura Marostica, Kristen Radtke, and Kirk Wisland; cinepoems from Trevino L. Brings Plenty, Heid E. Erdrich, and Rebecca Gayle Howell; and one cine-story, Landon Houle’s “One of Us.” Finally, we’ve also included an experimental piece by John Bresland, a “found” video essay featuring actual clips from Peyton Place and haiku from David Trinidad’s book Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera. Bresland continues to be the leading figure in the video literature movement, offering workshops on the production of such films and starting the original collection at TriQuarterly. Now, Bresland has passed the torch, and Kristen Radtke manages the video submissions to TriQuarterly.

Watching the IHLR collection will show you why we’re so enamored with this new form. And every year, between January 1 and March 30, when we’re accepting video literature entries for our annual filmfest, you’ll know what we’re looking for. Every three years, we’ll include our favorites from the filmfests in a DVD issue. We hope to see your submissions, and we hope you enjoy the show!



There are four categories of Iron Horse sponsors:

Friends (at the $50 level)

Patrons (at the $100 level)

Benefactors (at the $300 level)

You are choosing to join the Benefactors list! Thank you so much for your generous support! Without our sponsors, Iron Horse would not be the journal it is today. We are so appreciative!

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There are four categories of Iron Horse sponsors:

Friends (at the $50 level)

Patrons (at the $100 level)

Benefactors (at the $300 level)

You are choosing to join the Patrons list! Thank you so much for your generous support! Without our sponsors, Iron Horse would not be the journal it is today. We are so appreciative!

There are four categories of Iron Horse sponsors:

Friends (at the $50 level)

Patrons (at the $100 level)

Benefactors (at the $300 level)

You are choosing to join the Friends list! Thank you so much for your generous support! Without our sponsors, Iron Horse would not be the journal it is today. We are so appreciative!