The Fourth River welcomes 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, Nate Pritts, 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The Fourth River accepts unpublished poetry, literary short fiction, creative nonfiction and artwork.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 up 3-5 poems, up to 7,000 words of prose, or three pieces of visual art at a time. All submissions will be considered for print or online publication. 

SPECIAL NOTE: We are OPEN to general submissions, as well as to submissions for our theme feature for our next online issue from January 7th-February 7th, 2015. After that date, we go back to our regular submission schedule, listed below.

Submission Period for Print Journal: July 1 – September 1.
Submission Period for Online Journal: November 1 – January 1.

     **Queering Nature: Themed Online Issue Coming Fall 2015**

Heteronormative/queer.  Natural/unnatural. Human/animal. Urban/wild. These binaries reveal heteronormative privilege, along with its assumption of dominance over nature and its definition of what's natural.  But what if the world in which we live has always been naturally queer, and language has yet to reveal it?

Guest-edited by Dakota Garilli and Michael Walsh, The Fourth River’s second online issue, to launch in Fall of 2015, will focus on Queering Nature, and we’re looking for your best, most innovative nature and place-based writing in any genre or style. Hybrid forms, lyric essays, prose poems, and work that blends research with creative language are all welcome. Surprise us.

We want to see work that delves into the mess and nuance of our natural world. As Alex Johnson writes in his essay “How to Queer Ecology,” “What queer can offer is the identity of I am also. I am also human. I am also natural. I am also alive and dynamic and full of contradiction, paradox, irony.”

An example of the kind of thing we're looking for would be of what we're looking for would be "Boonies," by D.A. Powell:

Check The Fourth River website for more submission details:


Dakota Garilli is a queer poet, essayist, and writing instructor who recently taught in the Words Without Walls program at the Allegheny County Jail. A transplant from the New Jersey suburbs living in Pittsburgh, Dakota earned an MFA at Chatham University, where he studied creative nonfiction, poetry, and pedagogy. Former managing editor of Chatham’s The Fourth River, Dakota is a founding and nonfiction editor of the new digital literary journal IDK Magazine. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Weave, Two Hawks Quarterly, and The Good Men Project. His interests include drag, the Catholic arcana, spirituality and the occult, reality television, and suburban lifestyles.

Michael Walsh is a poet and short story writer living with his husband in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up on a dairy farm in western Minnesota, where he came out in the local paper during his senior year of high school in the early 90s. He often writes about the queer and rural Midwest. His chapbooks, Adam Walking the Garden (2004) and Sleepwalks (2012), were published by Red Dragonfly Press. The Dirt Riddles, his first full-length collection of poetry, won the inaugural Miller Williams Prize in Poetry from the University of Arkansas Press (2010) and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry (2011). His interests include animal husbandry, astrophysics, games, monsters, myths, quantum mechanics, restoration ecology, slow foods, and urban farming.

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

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