Coastal Shelf

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Contest judging will conclude by early April, and our 2023 issue will be out in early May. We will reopen first with a window only for past submitters who were so patient with us during this crazy time—once we get our backlog under control and hopefully have a couple additional readers to replace our wonderful former staffers who have moved on.

Coastal Shelf lives on, however because of craziness in our lives, we are closing submissions of all types. We'll be offering a submission window exclusively to those who have had a long delay in responses sometime later this fall. Once we're able to get a handle on the backlog (if you're interested in bein a reader, please message us at

We happily accept simultaneous submissions providing you notify us in a timely manner if a piece is accepted elsewhere with a note in Submittable. We also read blind—only looking at cover letters after reading and deciding upon the piece so do not include your name in the file name or in the document.  

We are currently under a healthy backlog, however all submissions will receive a response. 

Additionally, all submissions will receive a few suggestions of writers we think you'd enjoy or other magazines you might try with your writing, because hey, we're submitting writers too. Even if your piece isn't for us it might be absolutely perfect elsewhere. A rejection is in no way a value judgement on the piece—it merely doesn't fit into the vision we have for the current issue/s. 

We pay our authors $30 per piece published ($100 for features) and run various contests throughout the year.

Hard Sells: For poetry: Hard end rhyme (but a well disguised rhyme via enjambment is another story), A preponderance of abstractions, Archaic syntactical inversions. That's about it. For prose: Bland writing. Straightforward is fine, and genre writing is fine as long as there's more to it that just a series of events and world building—there should be a 'point' or a reason to read the story or poem other than just being a short diversion. As always, edit ruthlessly and send us your best stuff. 

Writers we admire: Too many to name, but a couple dozen or so would be Campbell McGrath, Kurt Vonnegut, Amy Hempel, Li-Young Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Russell Edson, James Tate, Barry Hannah, Denis Johnson, Kim Addonizio, Yusef Komunyakaa, Charles Harper Webb, Dorianne Laux,  Luis Alberto Urrea, David Kirby, Cormac McCarthy, Tobias Wolff, Stephen Dunn, Frank O'Hara, Tim O'Brien, Lydia Davis, Virgil Suarez, Richard Siken, Dean Young, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Steve Kowit, Barbara Hamby, Denise Duhamel, Gaylord Brewer, Emma Bolden, Gerald Locklin, Raymond Carver, Theodore Roethke, Marilyn Chin, Nick Flynn, Nick Lantz, Gary Snyder, Flannery O'Connor , T.R. Hummer, D.A. Powell, T.C. Boyle and, oh, I don't know, how about some W.S. Merwin since we're doing the initials. 

Coastal Shelf