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The Rumen (Gold Star Program) Gold Star

The Rumen is a collaboration between writers, poets, and artists from a variety of demographics and backgrounds. Like the guts of an ungulate, we want The Rumen to be a space for ideas and experiences to digest, ferment, and transform.

We are especially interested in publishing contributors from historically underrepresented people groups.

Quota: This project has established a quota. Submissions will close when it is reached.


Quick Links to Open Calls:

Fiction Free Tip Jar Option


We at The Rumen publish strange, high concept stories with expert framing. We want tales that project themselves beyond the confines of their word limits, with extra believable or unbelievable characters, and balanced prose that demonstrates equal mastery of action and imagery. Our favorite stories leave us with as many questions as answers, so don’t be afraid to weave in your best literary ambiguity. That being said, the purely aesthetic can be a hard sell, so consider closely before sending us your experimental dystopian cyber-thrillers.

Fiction Guidelines:
  • We accept both short fiction and flash fiction up to 5,000 words. If your story is a little over the limit, that’s okay, just make note in your submission

We are not interested in:
  • Erotica, saccharine romance, stories of YA likeness
  • Fanfiction
  • Generic High Fantasy and Star Wars-adjacent Sci-Fi
  • Children’s or middle grade-style fiction (we make an exception for original folktales)
  • Transgressive stories for transgression’s sake.

Non-Fiction Free Tip Jar Option


We especially love works dealing with the arts, history, philosophy, sciences, and anything that combines these fields. Thoughtful analyses of film, literature, music, or the like are also welcome. Memoir or personal essays can teach us a lot about ourselves, and we ask that submissions in these genres have a strong central theme or moral. Works of a semi-academic or political nature will require citations, preferably in MLA format.

Non-fiction Guidelines:
  • We accept personal essay, memoir, think pieces, critical analyses, and similar articles up to 5,000 words. If your story is a little over the limit, that’s okay, just make note in your submission. Any submissions requiring citations should be formatted according to the MLA Style Manual.

We are not interested in:
  • Memoir or family histories absent of narrative or overarching theme
  • Book, film, or other media reviews are a hard sell though we can be swayed by interesting critical studies
  • Self-help, motivational, evangelical works, how-to guides

We aren’t opposed to political diatribes but it should be noted that works advocating for capitalist, exploitative, imperialistic, and alt-right ideologies are not our cup of cud

Poetry Free Tip Jar Option


For poetry we are interested in works that emphasize craft. We want poems with interesting forms, strong sonics, and striking images flawlessly rendered. Traditional forms are welcome but we lean more toward works that take risks and challenge notions of traditional poetics. We especially appreciate conceptual poems that do a few things really well rather than many things with mediocrity.

Poetry Guidelines:
  • You may submit up to 5 poems at a time. If you have already submitted to The Rumen we ask that you wait three months before submitting to us again.
  • Each poem should not exceed two pages or 1000 words.

We are not interested in:
  • Long-form confessional poetry
  • Generic pastoral/nature poetry
  • Anything reliant on cliches, vague poetic nothings, hyperminimalist sentences broken into lines (aka Instagram poetry

We love a good rhyme, but you should be confident in your use of meter/prosody. An off rhyme is far worse than no rhyme at all.