FIND THE LATEST SUBMISSION INFORMATION AT blog.cowboypoetry.com/submissions
If your poem is accepted, we will reply within four weeks. After that time you are welcome to submit another poem.
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Holiday and themed poems
Indexes to poems
While we do have existing themed collections, there are no current open submissions for those collections. We often post accepted poems in those collections. We do not solicit submissions for Cowboy Poetry Week, Valentine's Day, and other such holidays. Themed poems may be submitted under our regular guidelines. It takes about eight weeks for us to consider a submission. If you have a posted poem that you think should have been included in a themed collection, please email us.
What if your poem or song isn't accepted? We comment below.
We also have poetry and lyrics from invited Honored Guests.
Space and editorial considerations may cause us to remove posted works after an extended period of time. Often, if a writer has no new work posted for more than a couple of years, those pages will be removed. The works may be resubmitted according to these guidelines.
All poems and lyrics remain the property of their authors, who are protected by U.S. Copyright Law to its full extent. No poem or song may be reproduced without the express permission of the author.
We recommend these articles:
Up a Poem"
Rod Miller's wide-ranging essay about cowboy poetry, then and now
You Call THAT a Poem?
You All Talk and No Trochaic Tetrameter?
and others, listed here
Poems that don't get accepted might have a better chance if these things were considered and revisions were made:
We're looking for quality. We accept cowboy poetry in the traditional form, with strong rhyme and meter, and we're open to other forms.
Our focus is on poems that reflect cowboy and ranching life—the real, working West, not the "reel" stories from movies and such.
We are not interested in "outhouse" poems or poems that include drunken driving or racial prejudice.
We're interested only in poems that are acceptable to readers of all ages.
If you "just wrote it yesterday," hold on to it and keep working. The best poems, however divine the inspiration might have been that helped write them, need to be edited, edited, and edited. And then edited more. Do that and then try it out on us.
If your poem is in the traditional form and the meter flows like a three-legged horse, keep working.
If you have near-rhymes like son/soon and curlew/halo and link/stinks that look like lazy efforts, we'll suggest you work a bit harder.
If you have awkward forced rhymes, such as "on my horse I did ride" where you've inverted a phrase to make a rhyme...please keep working to rid your poem of those.
If your poem is an old (or new) joke that you made into a poem...chances are it won't really be something authentically representative of cowboy and Western life and won't be original—two things we (and our readers) hope for.
If your poem is a made-up Old West tale, inspired by Hollywood or the like, this is not the place for it.
If your poem hardly touches anything Western and is a sermon, or a call to arms, or such, it might be a good poem, but again, it's not what we're aiming for here at the BAR-D.
Get to know the work of the classic Cowboy Poets and read all the good poetry you can. There are usually good reasons why poems become the favorites of many readers. Read our Honored Guests' poetry. See our articles about writing and reciting Cowboy Poetry.
What if your poem is not accepted?
We hope you'll work on it and re-submit it, or submit another.
Judging is of course subjective, but we try to let poets know why a poem is not accepted.
We do out best to keep the bar high, in an effort to make our collection representative of the best in cowboy poetry.
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