For all our submissions, themed or otherwise, we welcome especially work by writers  who are part of marginalized groups: immigrant and indigenous writers;  writers of color; women, non-binary, LGBQA and trans writers; writers  with disabilities both visible and invisible. Send us your best work!

 General Guidelines

The Fourth River publishes one print issue in the spring and one digital issue in the fall. Submissions for print are accepted July 1-September 1; for digital November 1-January 1.

Submissions for the web series, Tributaries, is rolling.

We  welcome submissions that explore the relationship between humans and  their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are  looking for writing that is richly situated at the confluence of place,  space and identity—or that reflects upon or makes use of landscape and  place in new ways. 

Recent authors we’ve published include Barbara Hurd, Susan Cohen, Todd Kaneko, Ira Sukrungruang, Lisa Summe and BK Loren. Contributors to The Fourth River have received Pushcart Prizes, NEA Fellowships, and The Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The Fourth River’s  contributors have been published in Glimmer Train, Alaska Quarterly  Review, The Missouri Review, The Best American Short Stories, The O.  Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Travel Writing. 

The Fourth River accepts unpublished poetry, literary short fiction, creative nonfiction and artwork. 

Please send 3-5 poems, up to 7,000 words of prose, or three pieces of visual art at a time.

The Fourth River only accepts submissions via Submittable.  Emailed submissions will not be read. Mailed submissions will be recycled.

Please send us up to three pieces of original artwork or photography in the highest possible resolution.

Please indicate in your cover letter if your submission is intended for one of our special themes. If no theme is indicated, we will consider your work for our upcoming print and/or online issues.
If you would like to purchase more than one copy of an issue, please contact us at

Rolling, burbling, churning along, tributaries lead us to the river.  These winding origins are sometimes small, but often powerful.  Tributaries refresh us, urge us forward, guide us through the trees.The  Fourth River’s weekly online publication, “Tributaries”, showcases the  brief and the inspiring, that which sustains us and takes us through  unexpected courses.

We are honored to welcome Geeta Kothari as our Tributaries Editor for fall, 2018!


Submit one poem or up to 500 words of fiction or nonfiction prose that addresses the mission above.

Multiple submissions are not accepted. Please submit one piece at a time and wait to hear back before submitting again.

Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you notify us immediately.

We do not accept previously published work.


GEETA KOTHARI is the nonfiction editor of the Kenyon Review.   Her writing has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including New England Review, Massachusetts Review, and othersHer essay "If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?" is widely taught in universities and has been reprinted in several anthologies, including in Best American Essays. She is the editor of ‘Did My Mama Like to Dance?’ and Other Stories about Mothers and Daughters and recently published a short story collection, I Brake for Moose and Other Stories.

The Fourth River