the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2013 / Spring 2014




Editor:  Nicholas Johnson

Associate Editor:  Elena Kondracki

Music Editor:  TBA

Contributing Editors: Martin Mitchell, Barry Wallenstein, James Ragan, Patrick Henry (UK), Diana Manister,
Margo Berdeshevsky, George Wallace, Larissa Shmailo, Melinda Thomsen

Regular Contributors:  Rob Wright, Paul Espel, Richard Pearse, Allen C. Fischer

Photographer:  George Kunze

New York Skyline Photo: Alex Seto

Audio and Recording Engineer:  Zolton Sessions

Webmaster/Design (Spring 2007 Fall 2013/Spring 2014): Good Fortune Web Design

Rev. 04/27/07

Statement of Editorial Policy:

The editors attach paramount significance to artistic merit and diversity of expression. Merit notwithstanding, we will decline work which in our estimation subverts art to agenda, political or otherwise; diversity of expression is circumscribed by settled principles of U.S. First Amendment and analogous foreign jurisprudence and further by editorial discretion.

Work accepted for publication will ordinarily appear as scheduled, but may be deferred by editorial prerogative for up to six months. We reserve the right to reject query-accepted or commissioned manuscripts which are delivered late or in unsatisfactory condition.

All texts are subject to close editorial attention, both as to content and to form. Unless explicitly reserved, submission constitutes the grant to us of a broad, non-exclusive license to exploit work (including audio and visual work) for related purposes in a manner not inconsistent with copyright protections and other applicable law. Contributors may authorize reprints conditioned upon notice and magazine attribution.

Copyright and Trademark Notice

All text, visual, audio, and graphic material contained herein is proprietary.  Copyright reverts to author upon publication.  Subsequent reprints of work must include Big City Lit acknowledgment.

December 2000; Rev. 5/07

Submissions Categories:

We are temporarily closed to submissions. We will reopen when we have a new webmaster.
Please submit or resubmit at that time.

(Specify category in the subject line of submission or query, e.g. "Re: Submission, Twelve"; "Re: Query, Article".)

Big City, Little
Bridge City Lit
Fiction/Short Prose
Longer Draughts
Series on Series
Series Reviews
Free Expression
Legal Forum


Compilations: The New York edition of the magazine typically solicits coherent, multi-contributor compilations of 20-24 poems with accompanying introduction for a specific, single-issue feature. Proposals for poetry feature compilations should contain at least the following elements: name, contact info, and bio of guest editor(s), title, brief description of theme or other unifying concept, contributor names/works (to extent known), suggested recording venue, and advertisers.

Individual Works: The New York edition accepts unsolicited submissions of individual poems for upcoming themes listed below and on the Home Page, whereby suggested themes are not intended to be restrictive or preclusive of other individual submissions, and for the Big City, Little (details appear on that page) and Twelve features on an ongoing basis. The key for Twelve is risk; it is of equal interest to us whether the gambit succeeds or fails well. There is no specific length limitation for that section, nor are contributions limited to a single piece. We encourage multi-part poem cycles, for instance.

The Bridge City Lit editions (Paris, etc.) also accept unsolicited submissions of individual poems and short prose, especially work in the respective corresponding language (French, Dutch, Spanish, etc.)

Manuscript Formatting

While field poetry may work well on the printed page, idiosyncratic formatting can be tricky to reproduce on-line, often unsuccessful, and therefore your patience is solicited. A similar appeal applies to gaps and indentations. We are disinclined toward ampersands and toward what we term the all-purpose hyphen "hiccup." Punctuation which deviates from standard usage is acceptable, provided it is deliberate, skillful, and enhances the poem. Tabs to effect centering or other print presentation are unnecessary and will be removed. Slashes to indicate breaks in electronically transmitted work are useful. Poems appear on the magazine in Palatino, 14 pt. for text, 16 pt. for title and author (italicized) name

Hypertext Literature

We are currently not equipped to publish significant amounts of hypertext literature, but welcome submissions of and queries about such works.


The most readily accommodable length is 1800 to 2500 words, but we are receptive to others as well. (See below.) We favor skill in execution, artistic and otherwise. Since use of language includes a mastery of punctuation, we reserve discretion to reproduce only such authorial deviations from standard practice which work to demonstrate that facility. Space only once after periods. We generally prefer to print dialogue in double quotation marks, interior monologue in italics.

Essays, Articles, etc.

Query first for pieces over 750 words. Shorter works may be sent in their entirety, one at a time, by email paste. Space only once after periods.

Artwork and Photographs

Artwork submissions may be sent electronically by jpg or gif (72 dpi only, to minimize file size) or by mail, in any medium appropriate tothe piece, e.g. slides, color photocopies, laser prints, indicating the dimensionsand media used. Include SASE postage prepaid for return.

Current Call for Submissions

Themes: Consult Home Page for most current listing. The theme focus applies primarily to the Poetry Feature collection, though a particular focus sometimes dominates the issue, including its prose elements (e.g., Vietnam (Jun'01), Cuba (Aug'02)). Fine submissions independent of theme are sought and read year-round.

Dramatic Monologue (poetry: e.g. "My Last Dutchess"); Epigrams; Moving/Motion; Dust; Corridors; Insects; Cemeteries; Smoking; Infanticide; Music; Japan; Montreal/Quebec (surtout francophone); Surrealism; Timepieces; Kites; Suicide; 'Lovesick'; Intermediating Surfaces: the Sk(in) Between; Hands and Gloves; How the Other Half: Rich vs. Poor; Wells; Degree 365: Year Two of 9/11; Small Town Wherewithal.

Suggested length parameters:

4 to 60 lines (poetry, except for Twelve)
350 to 1200 words (short prose)
1000 to 3000 words (fiction) (two installments possible, thus, 6000)
3000 words (verse plays)
500 to 4000 words (non-fiction)
500 (capsule book and event reviews)
750 (Series on Series)
1250 to 1800 (articles, essays [but query], in-depth reviews)
2500 (interviews)
3500 (Longer Draughts)
Please query first regarding reviews, essays, and articles with up to 750-word writing sample.


By paste initially and by attachment if requested to:
By hardcopy and disk to: Box 1141 Cathedral Station New York, NY 10025.
By brief courteous address to the appropriate editor, including name, address, phone, and email. Short bio is optional, but appreciated on initial submission. Unidentified attachments will be deleted unread, as will submissions introduced with "hey-yo-I-just-wrote-this-your-gonna-love-it" or "My work has been published in over 700 online magazines" puffery. We replied courteously to, but did not read the work accompanying this note: "Hey, I'm 14 from South Carolina. My name is H* B*. I hope you like my stuff."

Rev. 7/2003.