Tinderbox Review Guidelines

Thanks for thinking of Tinderbox Poetry Journal as a home for your work!

Tinderbox is a poetry journal, but we publish reviews of most short form work. This includes poetry, flash creative nonfiction, lyric essays and hybrid forms. These should be books/chapbooks published after 2017 (unless you are pitching a review for our Books That Stay With Us category). We are especially interested in featuring titles from smaller presses, but we don’t review self-published work, or work published by presses with questionable publishing practices. We are always looking for reviews of works by marginalized populations.

Reviews should be:

  • 500-800 words for a chapbook/micro/nontraditional review
  • 750-1000 words for a full length collection review *I am open to longer reviews but there needs to be a good reason – let’s have that conversation before you submit. 

As for voice/attitude/style, I’m looking for reviews that are excited about the books in question.  Thoughtful criticism is of course part of any good review, but the general tone should be enthusiastic, smart, bold, personal (if you like) and warm. We DO publish reviews of books written by authors who you know personally, but please make sure to discuss this relationship/reveal its nature early in your review. 

Please include any important background information about the other’s other work, awards she has won or any other pertinent information that would be helpful context for your review.  Quotes are helpful but don’t get carried away – short and revealing is best.  

The beginning of your review should be formatted as follows:

A high res image of the cover of the book
Title by Author
Name of press (with hyperlink embedded!), year published
# pages, price

Review by Your name

Please also include a 50-word bio at the end of your review each time you submit a review (I don’t keep reviewers’ bios on file and they’re likely to change over time).

All reviews are subject to editorial suggestions and revisions before publication.  You will have a chance to approve of any edits before publication.  If you choose not to make the edits, Tinderbox may not publish your review.

In addition to reviews I am interested in:

  • Longer review essays of more than one title that explore a theme or trend or issue in addition to reviewing the books in question
  • Round-up reviews of more than one title (three chapbooks, two short essay collections, etc.)
  • Books that Stay with Us: reviews of books that are at least ten years old, of any genre, that you love, that have stayed with you
  • Pitches for other book-related writing

Tinderbox highlights the work of poets in their communities, and the ways that we all are connected to each other. In addition to reviews, we feature interviews between close writing friends, partners/collaborators, writing influences/heroes and mentor-mentees. If you are interested in being featured, please send me a pitch email with your name, the person you’d like to partner up with, and a couple of sentences about how you’ve influenced each other’s work. 

Have questions?  Want to pitch a title, or are you ready to submit a review?

Contact me at tinderboxreviews@gmail.com.

I look forward to working with you!

Sarah Ann Winn

Reviews Editor, Tinderbox Poetry Journal