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, without comment. 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 • We do not publish previously published materials.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. Manuscripts that do not meet these parameters will be rejected, without comment.

• 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, without comment, any long manuscripts that come in during other submission periods.

• 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. We'll be happy for you and will much appreciate the head's up.

• 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 filmfest 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, but paste your COVER LETTER into the appropriate field in Submittable. Do NOT include your cover letter inside the manuscript itself--not as the first or any page inside the submission. 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. We also offer free submission days during every submission period. Follow us on social media to see those announcements and receive the hidden links.

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




In 2020, we'll release an issue (23.2) that addresses ideas of power: authority, empowerment, privilege, muscle, independence, strength, fortitude, unity, protest.

For our print issues, we read flash and stories up to 6,000 words (approx. 17 pages). Stories longer than 6,000 words should be submitted to our annual IHLR Long Story Issue, not here. We generally do not read stories longer than 6,000 words except for our IHLR Long Story Issue.

We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if the story is taken elsewhere the moment that happens.

In 2020, we'll release an issue (23.2) that addresses ideas of power: authority, empowerment, privilege, muscle, independence, strength, fortitude, unity, protest.

For our print issues, we read flash and essays up to 6,000 words (approx. 17 pages). Essays longer than 6,000 words should be submitted to our annual IHLR Long Story, not here. We generally do not read stories longer than 6,000 words except for our IHLR Long Story.

We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if the essay is taken elsewhere the moment that happens.



In 2020, we'll release an issue (23.2) that addresses ideas of power: authority, empowerment, privilege, muscle, independence, strength, fortitude, unity, protest. 

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.

We accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if a poem is taken elsewhere the moment that happens.



When we wrapped up this issue and sent it to the printer, we were already tucked away in our isolation, campus closed, photographs of its green belts and familiar icons floating around on social media from the few who stayed behind in Lubbock. One post captured the familiar red tulips that fill the flowerbeds each spring; another post, Will Rogers riding Soap Suds through the Key; and in yet another, the desert willows blooming or the wide blue sky of West Texas. These are pictures filled with objects we recognize and love, and yet they are portraits of emptiness. Not a single student or car in the background; no voices or hubbub rising forth. 

At the end of every academic year, I’m glad to say farewell to Texas Tech, to flit away to some secluded mountain cabin or bustling city to get some writing done. To see my parents for an extended visit rather than a whirlwind weekend. To fill my days with to-do lists comprised of tasks I choose—writing, reading, swimming, catching foreign films at the Siskell Theater in Chicago or blockbusters at the drive-in near Lubbock, lunching at outdoor cafes with friends—rather than duties I’m assigned. But cut the year short, steal the conclusion of a semester from me, and suddenly I realize how much I adore the campus where I teach. I miss the students’ physical presence. I miss the rattle of air conditioning in my office, even in January. I miss the trek to the library or the union for lunch. I even miss those damned ubiquitous green scooters.

The pandemic has been a time of sharp awareness—what gifts and joys I possess but could easily lose. “Normal” is more fragile than we realize. Downstairs, my father, growing tinier and tinier, watches television, waiting to share a smile with me, to plan our dinner, and later, when we retire for the night, to promise that we will do it all again tomorrow. I’ve become conscious that when I read a book, go for a walk with my dog, even nap in the early afternoons, the pleasure of these activities is sharpened by the security of knowing that everyone I love in the world is still in it. This cannot always be true. At this particular moment, Americans are losing their loved ones, and everything they had imagined, even the narrative of farewell they had counted on, has been stolen from them. People are living in isolation, and they are also dying alone. 

This issue reads differently to me now, the poems chosen in the fall semester when we had no idea what was coming. They seem more nostalgic to me today, filled with people and places, whether real or imagined, that the poets love. Where there was rage in them, it seems more like sorrow. Where there was sorrow, it seems more like hope. I know that we will not be able to distribute this issue as quickly as we receive it from the printer. I cannot know how soon we will be in our offices again, and I suppose, by then, these poems might transform again. But I do know, they hold up to multiple readings. I know they are capable changelings.

The cover photo is one I took during the summer of 2014, on a day when I rented a car with the help of the Chmielewski family, the sponsors of the Time and Place Prize, and drove across France, from Ouradour-sur-Glane to Brittany, in one day. I had spent the morning at Ouradour, a village the Nazis torched, its women and children held inside the church, its men cornered in the town’s stables, all 642 of them burned alive, because the Nazis suspected them, falsely, of “traitorous” behavior. Afterward, I headed northwest, back to the writer’s residency, along an isolated road and through Confolens, which I fell in love with and promised to return to some day. Outside this village were fields of sunflowers, so broad and deep I could see nothing but their nodding heads following the path of the sun. I stopped to take several photographs. I had the time then—was in the right place, with new friends kind enough to assist my travels, and the world felt secure—to travel, to witness history, to stop for photographs, to speak to strangers, to learn better a language other than my own. The privilege of it is so overwhelming now that it makes me dizzy. I cannot imagine ever again thinking of such a moment on the side of a quiet road in another country as merely normal. It was an extraordinary gift.

Maybe the world will survive Covid-19. Maybe safe travels will be feasible again. But, more importantly, maybe what I didn’t recognize as privilege will become a reality for everyone—if we work to define “normal” in significantly different ways when the world reboots. I may never see the campus of my beloved Texas Tech again, but I have known and loved her. I may not make it back to Confolens, but I was there one day, among the sunflowers; I have experienced what it feels like to imagine a joyous return rather than never meeting possibility at all. I cannot help but think all of our lives would improve if we shared possibility rather than hoarding it alone. 

Buy your copy of our annual National Poetry Month Issue here for $5. Due to Covid-19 budget cuts, international readers will receive an electronic copy only.

Poetry by: george bilgere | traci brimhall | taylor byas | grant clauser | sarah cooper | chris ellery | oscar enriquez | christian anton gerard | clemonce heard | rachel mennies | sarah nance | janice northerns | cindy juyoung ok | emily pérez | doug ramspeck | anna sandy-elrod | troy varvel 

In the Saddle: The IHLR Covid Digs



We've just released our 2019 chapbook winner, Freda Epum's Entryways into memories that might assemble me,.

It's a thought-provoking hybrid--part cultural study, part memoir, part flash--selected by Lacy M. Johnson. We're so pleased to add this chapbook to the IHLR Chapbook Series. 

Buy your copy here for $10.

Due to budget cuts after Covid-19, we can no longer support international postage costs. Readers outside the United States will receive an electronic copy only. 






Iron Horse Literary Review has been in print for 20 years! In that time, we've published 76 issues, including 825 poems, 207 stories, and 97 essays. 


Here, in this double issue, we're including our most beloved selections: our favorite 7 stories, 4 essays, and 26 poems:

  • Best of IHLR Fiction: shane castle | aaron gwyn | gina ochsner | lucas southworth | e.m. tran | anne valente | kennedy weible   
  • Best of IHLR Nonfiction: lina maria ferreira cabeza-vanegas | gary fincke | elizabeth horneber | michelle valois
  • Best of IHLR Poetry: nin andrews | lauren berry | nickole brown | m. soledad caballero | ching-in chen | tiana clark | chad davidson | erica dawson | stephen dunn | ryler dustin | jaclyn dwyer | carolina ebeid | bob hicok | carrie jerrell | tyehimba jess | ted kooser | barbara lau | li-young lee | paige lewis | juan j. morales | cecily parks | katie peterson | carl phillips | saara myrene raappana | karrie waarala | afaa michael weaver

 

Celebrate with us! Read this double issue, featuring these terrific writers, and learn how we selected the works we've included--which will give "insider" insight into our overall preferences and editorial selection process!


Buy your copy right here for $10. Due to Covid-19 budget cuts, we can only send electronic copies to international subscribers.


Sincerely,
Leslie Jill Patterson, Editor









A year's subscription, for only $18, includes a complete volume of Iron Horse: 3 print issues and 3 electronic issues. International subscribers will receive electronic copies only of all issues; due to Covid-19 budget cuts we can no longer support international postage.


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!

 A 2-year subscription, for only $30, includes two complete volumes: 6 prints issues and 6 electronic issues. International subscribers will receive electronic copies only.

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!


You are purchasing a single back issue.

Back issues are $5 each. International readers will receive an electronic copy only.

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!

*Please note that if you would like to purchase the Best of IHLR Anniversary Double Issue (20.1 & 20.2), there is a dedicated form for that issue on the main Submittable page.

You are choosing to purchase two back issues from Volumes 1 through 22. 

International readers will receive electronic copies only. 

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

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

*Please note that if you would like to purchase the Best of IHLR Anniversary Double Issue (20.1 & 20.2), there is a dedicated form for that issue on the main Submittable page.


You are choosing to purchase three back issues of IHLR, from volumes 1 through 22.

International readers will receive electronic copies only.

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! 

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!

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!

Iron Horse Literary Review