MAYDAY is an international journal of literature, art, and commentary. We regularly publish new fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, cultural commentary, interviews, reviews, and visual art.

MAYDAY is interested in exploring and engaging a wide spectrum of ideas and perspectives. We're interested in culture and history, politics regional and global, the past, present, and future. We're also interested particularly in writers who have been marginalized historically, including writers of color, queer and trans writers, disabled writers, and others who have suffered systemic discrimination.

We do not consider previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are accepted and encouraged. Please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Payment for work published at MAYDAY is according to the following flat rates:

  • Book Reviews and Interviews: $20
  • Creative Nonfiction: $20
  • Culture: $20
  • Fiction: $20
  • MAYDAY:Black: $50
  • Poetry: $10
  • Translation: $20 (stories), $10 (poems)
  • Visual Art: $10

We aim to respond within two months from date of submission. If you have not received a response after two months, please feel free to query us in the Notes area at Submittable.

Rights revert to author upon publication. Please credit MAYDAY with first publication if the work is republished elsewhere.

Please see the specific genre guidelines below for more details. For interview proposals and reviews, please query the editors via the relevant department’s Submittable form below.

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What to submit:

Please submit 1 - 3 poems of up to a total of 10 pages in a single document. Submissions of more than 3 poems or 10 pages will not be read. We aim for a 3 month turn-around time; please do not submit again until hearing back on your first submission.

In lieu of a cover letter, include a bio of up to 100 words in the appropriate field, as well as any social media handles where indicated in the Submittable form. 

By submitting you confirm that the work is your own and has not been previously published. We accept simultaneous submissions; however, please message us via Submittable immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. 

If your work speaks to the knowledge or experience of a marginalized group, and you would like to contextualize your relationship to that group, you may do so within your cover letter.

What we’re looking for:

At MAYDAY, we want to publish poems that teach us their language and how to read them. We seek to cultivate a poetry section that moves readers through the expressive and fresh–the weird yet intentional. We value subversive poems that engage critically with the world, that are specific yet embrace the mess of complexity. We want poems that make us laugh, poems that make us cry, and those that manage both. We enjoy poems that invite readers to connect with their speakers, and leave us transformed by the poet’s voice. We want poems that engage in or break received forms and those that create new ones. We’d love to see poetry that uses space imaginatively, including projective, concrete, visual, erasure, and documentary forms, as well as forms we haven’t seen yet! Show us what a poem can be and do. Send us your best. 

The following are some poems we’ve been proud to publish within the past year. We encourage you to take a gander at them before submitting:

  • antmen pimentel mendoza, "Two Poems":
  • Mitali Khanna Sharma, "Ghazal for Valley Girl":
  • Raquel Gutiérrez, "Pure Deseo":
  • Tyler Raso, "Two Poems":
  • Catherine Chen, "Spirit Article":

Book Reviews 

We are interested in rigorous, interdisciplinary yet artistic and playful book reviews of recent poetry and hybrid collections. For an example of what we might be looking for, check out our poetry editor's recent review here (

We are particularly interested in seeing book reviews of the below poetry collections, though we are still open to reviews of other titles:

The Grid, Eli Payne Mandel (Changes, 2023)

A Night in the Country, Laura Newbern (Changes, 2024)

Not Us Now, Zoë Hitzig (Changes, 2024)

Ossia, Jimin Seo (Changes, 2024)

Geometry of the Restless Herd, Sophie Cabot Black (Copper Canyon, 2024)

Aurora Americana, Myronn Hardy (Princeton University Press, 2023)

Wail Song, Chaun Webster (Black Ocean, 2023)

It’s Not Over Once You Figure it Out, Isaac Pickell (Black Ocean, 2023)

Seguiriyas, Ben Meyerson (Black Ocean, 2023)

Interior Landscape, Mitra Rosenberg (ugly duckling presse, 2023)

WORDTOMYDEAD, sade powell (ugly duckling presse, 2023)

Girl Work, Zefyr Lisowski (Noemi Press, 2024)

Beautiful Machine Woman Language, Catherine Chen (Noemi Press, 2023)

a record of how the mother’s textile became sound, Nawal Nader-French (Noemi Press, 2023)

Occupy Whiteness, Joaquin Zihuatanejo (Deep Vellum, 2024)

Watcha,  Stalina Emmanuelle Villarreal (Deep Vellum, 2024)

Return of the Chinese Femme, Dorothy Chan (Deep Vellum, 2024)

Portal, Tracy Fuad (University of Chicago Press, 2024)

The Wandering Life, Yves Bonnefory/Hoyt Rogers (Tupelo Press, 2023)

Asterism, Ae Hee Lee (Tupelo Press, 2024)

The Future Will Call You Something Else, Natasha Saje (Tupelo Press, 2023)

Wind-Mountain-Oak, Sappho, tr. Dan Beachy-Quick (Tupelo Press)

Mandible Wishbone Solvent, Asiya Wadud (University of Chicago Press, 2024)

Negro Mountain, C.S. Giscombe (Omnidawn, 2024)

The Upstate, Lindsay Turner (Omnidawn, 2024)

Letters from the Black Ark, D.S. Marriott (Omnidawn, 2024)

Underscore, Julie Carr (Omnidawn, 2024)

Whosoever Whole, Elizabeth Scanlon (Omnidawn, 2024)

Godhouse, Ruth Ellen Kocher (Omnidawn, 2023)

Black Box Syndrome, Jose-Luis Monteczuma (Omnidawn, 2023)

Looking and Seeing/Seeing and Looking, Truong Tran and Damon Potter (Omnidawn, 2023)

Fish-Wife, Alysse Kathleen McCanna (Black Lawrence Press, 2023)

In the Tempered Dark, ed. Lisa Fay Coutley (Black Lawrence Press, 2023)

The Everyday Life of Design, Alan Gilbert (Winter Editions, 2024)

Fires Seen from Space, Betsy Fagin (Winter Editions, 2024)

Transcendental Factory, Karla Kelsey (Winter Editions, 2024)

Postcards from the Siege of Leningrad, ed. Polina Barskova (Winter Editions, 2024)

Start Anywhere, Michael Kasper (Winter Editions, 2024)

The Gone Thing, Monica McClure (Winter Editions, 2023)

Border Wisdom, Ahmad Almallah (Winter Editions, 2023)

Via, Claire DeVoogd (Winter Editions, 2023)

Boys Fight, Marina Tëmkina & Michel Gérard (Winter Editions, 2024)

You, Rosa Alcala (Coffee House Press, 2024)

Alt-Nature, Saretta Morgan (Coffee House Press, 2024)

The Murmuring Grief of the Americas, Daniel Borzutzky (Coffee House Press, 2024)

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Thanks for considering MAYDAY as a home for your fiction. We are interested in original and engaging literary short fiction. We love innovative, strong writing that trusts the reader and is true to its author regardless of genre. We are committed to featuring a diverse range of content and authors, including LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and international voices. 

Popular authors we believe fit this vision include writers such as Carmen Machado, Jeanette Winterson, Maggie Nelson, Ocean Vuong, Yaa Gyasi, Ali Smith, Tommy Orange, Saeed Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Etgar Keret, Shelly Oria, Aimee Bender, Pedro Cabiya, China Miéville, and Olga Tokarczuk, among others. 

We will carefully consider works of prose up to 3000 words. Please only send one full-length submission at a time or up to three flash fiction submissions, under 1,000 words each. 

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We seek personal, critical, and hybrid essays that move, engage, and transport us and our readers. We are sure to respond to many things, but a strong authorial voice, a clear thought or experiential arc grounded in a sense of place, and some connection with a writer’s risk in approaching their story are often most resonant. And while we are open to work of all lengths, we prefer submissions of 5,000 words or less.

Please type and double-space your submission. We prefer .doc and .docx files, but .rtf, and Open Office files are okay, too. Please do not upload .pdf files. Please only send one submission at a time.

The MAYDAY Culture section is looking for enthusiastic, incisive cultural commentary and critical analysis. With an emphasis on diverse or marginalized perspectives, Culture explores politics, race, gender, sexuality, and ability across literature, cinema, television, music, art, and theatre, in contemporary and historical contexts. We also appreciate arts criticism that amplifies unique perspectives and complicates our understandings, and we regard this type of writing as an art form in its own right.

We’re seeking well-rounded, literary pieces that challenge us and our readers. Please avoid academic style and tone. There's no minimum length, but we prefer submissions with fewer than 6,000 words. Please send only one Culture submission at a time.

We accept pitches, too! Review our editors’ statements below, and feel free to pitch to us via email.

Sophia Kaufman is interested in pitches about literary and cinematic trends, intersectional feminism + social justice,  queer histories, internet discourse, articles rooted in archival research, and anything else, as long as it’s well-argued or funny, preferably both.

Clement Obropta is interested in pitches for enthusiastic and incisive arts criticism and theory, especially focusing on film, television, video games, and music.

Lisa Ströhm Winberg is interested in pitches that center around visual art, semiotics in design, and fashion as an art form. Lisa is especially interested in pitches about fashion theories and visual analysis of photography.

“More than three-quarters (77%) of newsroom employees – those who work as reporters, editors, photographers and videographers in the newspaper, broadcasting, and internet publishing industries – are non-Hispanic whites.” (Pew Research


This segregation drives and ensures a standard of media production that fails spectacularly to capture and reflect the experiences, ideas, and interests of Black people in America. 

Passionate to disrupt this long-time, strategic, and exclusionary media practice, Carla Bell, founding director of MAYDAY:Black, set out to honor and elevate stories written by, for, and about Black people – a fresh experience for all readers, and certainly for Black writers, including those seeking first-time publication. 

Whether we’re discussing the January 6th Capitol Attack and Insurrection, inequities in Boston public schools, or The Black Manifesto, at MAYDAY:Black, the Black writer, Black voice, and Black story are invited, encouraged, supported, and prioritized. 

We welcome nonfiction work in opinions and analyses; personal, braided, and reported essays in contemporary and historical contexts. 

Bring your authentic, curious, courageous, well-rounded stories on life, living, love, loss, representation, race, racism, death, dying, Black plight and civil rights, neighborhood blight, gentrification, white flight, and more. (In no way is this an exhaustive list!)

Pitch MD:B story ideas to, and send MD:B story drafts (800 to 3,000 words) via Submittable at no cost from anywhere in the world. English only, please.

We are looking for pieces that deserve a broader audience, that excite and inspire, that honor cultural heritage and move in the liminal space between borders sketched on maps with shaky hands; pieces that encourage a reader to question and engage with the world around them. We are especially interested in contemporary work from living authors, though it's by no means a requirement.

Poetry and prose from any language translated to English will be considered. We are also interested in book reviews and essays relevant to the art of literary translation. Please include a brief translator's note if you would like to provide context, artist bio, or other information important to the submitted piece. Before submitting, please ensure that your piece is thoroughly proofread and revised the way you’d like to see it published.
The translator must have secured rights for the translations submitted, or the work must be in the public domain.

Please include both the original and the translated text in Word files. If the source text contains characters difficult for Word to present correctly, a PDF scan is fine.

MAYDAY Magazine