Deep Wild Journal

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

General Guidelines

The editors of Deep Wild Journal: Writing from the Backcountry seek work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys. By “backcountry,” we mean away from paved roads on journeys undertaken by foot, skis, snowshoes, kayak, canoe, horse, or any other non-motorized means of conveyance.

We are open to a wide spectrum of carefully-crafted work, from the personal to the political. By “personal,” we mean work that not only relates the experience of backcountry journeys, but also in some way reflects upon the journeys. By “political,” we mean work that, while grounded in a backcountry perspective, addresses and confronts the social, economic, and environmental issues of our times.

Our annual reading period is September 1 to December 1. We invite you to send up to three poems or one or more prose pieces (creative nonfiction or fiction), double-spaced, up to about 3,000 words total. We will consider longer prose pieces of exceptional merit. Mixed genre work is also welcome; just submit it in one of the relevant genres, and let us know in the cover letter. The last day to submit work via our free Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction portals is December 1. We will also accept work throughout the month of December via our Tip Jar, for a $4.00 submission fee.

Guidelines for our 2024 Graduate Student Prose Contest, which is open for submissions from November 1 to March 1, can be found here.

To send us your work, please click on one of our submission portals. But first, please take time to read these guidelines.

Please be aware of the specific mission of Deep Wild Journal if you plan to submit: to publish the best work we can find in celebration of, and in defense of, places where there are no roads. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the work published in our first five issues. Visit to subscribe, or to read selections published on our blog. To take advantage of our discounts for students and faculty, visit and teachers/

Previously published work is welcome, so long as the rights are yours. Please identify as such in your cover letter. If your work is selected, we ask for the right to publish it in our print journal and also possibly on-line. You retain all rights to your work.

Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know at once, via Submittable, if your work is accepted elsewhere and is no longer available.

Response time: We will strive to respond to all submissions within three months after our submissions window closes (and often much sooner). If you do not hear from us after that time, feel free to query us.

Payment: Contributors will receive two copies of the journal in which their work appears, and a 50% discount on additional copies. They are also entitled to purchase single copies of other issues of Deep Wild, past and future (supplies permitting) at the 50% rate.

IMPORTANT SPECIFICS   **be sure to read!**

  • In the interests of fairness, all work will be read anonymously. This means, do not include any contact information in the file that you submit, either in the document itself or in the file name. Your name and contact info will be included in the Submittable cover letter, which our readers do not see. Submissions that do not follow this request risk being rejected.
  • Writers are allowed one free submission in any open-reading period. To be clear, this means you may submit work for free in only one of the three categories: Poetry, Fiction, or Nonfiction. 
  • If you wish to submit work in more than one genre, submit your first file for free, and any additional file(s) via the Tip Jar, for $4.00 per submission.
  • If you are submitting more than one poem or short prose piece, please put all of them together in one file on a single submission form. 
  • Submissions cannot be revised after you press <send>. Do not withdraw and resubmit a different version; it confuses us. Be assured that a few typos or minor errors will not affect our decision. Once a piece is accepted, editors will work with writers to make any revisions as needed.
  • If your work is declined, please wait until our next reading cycle before submitting again in the same genre.
  • Formatting guidelines: Please double-space prose and single-space poetry. Please indicate paragraph breaks by indenting, not by skipping a line. Please put only one space after periods at the ends of sentences, not two.

AND FINALLY: Deep Wild subsists solely on donations and subscriptions. If you believe in our unique mission to provide a home for creative work inspired by journeys to places where there are no roads, and if you have the means to do so, please visit our subscribe/support page, where you can subscribe to the journal, purchase a copy for a friend, or--by scrolling all the way down the page--make a donation of any amount. 

Deep Wild Journal