We publish only work by Lesbians. We are particularly interested in work that reflects the diversity of our experiences: as Lesbians of color, ethnic Lesbians, Jewish, Arab, old, young, working class, poverty class, disabled, and fat Lesbians. We welcome experimental work. We will not print anything that is oppressive or demeaning to Lesbians or women, or that perpetuates stereotypes. We keep an open and critical dialogue on all the issues that affect our lives, joy, and survival.

Ends on December 31, 2016

Editor JP Howard with Amber Atiya seek creative work by womyn who self-identify as black lesbians for a special issue of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and arts journal. This issue celebrates the lives of black lesbians.

We seek creative work from black lesbian writers and invite you to bring all the parts of yourself to the page. This issue is inspired by  legendary black lesbian poet, Pat Parker, who once said: “The day all the different parts of me can come along, we would have what I would call a revolution."  This issue aims to create a revolution of words. Black lesbian writers are invited to document their unique, powerful and diverse voices. We want writing that celebrates and documents the lived experiences of black lesbians. Suggested topics/themes include, but are not limited to, writing about your voice, gender, Herstory, politics, parental status, sexuality, disability, mental health, spirituality, brilliant minds and your relationship to community and chosen family. We also seek work that honors the memory of black lesbians who are no longer with us, in particular, those who were the victims of homo/transphobia, racism, ageism, and were taken from us too soon. Let us honor their memory in this issue. All genres are welcome, including poetry, fiction, memoir, creative and academic non-fiction, short essays, visual arts and book reviews. Material must not have been previously published (this includes website and personal blogs).

Sinister Wisdom is interested particularly in work that reflects the diversity of our experiences: as lesbians of color, multiracial lesbians, ethnic lesbians, Jewish lesbians, Arab lesbians, old lesbians, young lesbians, working class lesbians, poverty class lesbians, gender queer lesbians, butch lesbians, masculine of center lesbians, androgynous lesbians, femme lesbians, trans lesbians, disabled lesbians, and fat Lesbians.

"If I could take all my parts with me when I go somewhere, and not have to say to one of them, “No, you stay home tonight, you won’t be welcome,” because I’m going to an all-white party where I can be gay, but not Black. Or I’m going to a Black poetry reading, and half the poets are antihomosexual, or thousands of situations where something of what I am cannot come with me. The day all the different parts of me can come along, we would have what I would call a revolution."

--Pat Parker

Submission deadline is: December 31, 2016.

Submissions via submittable.

Email: SinisterWisdom.BlackLesbians@gmail.com with questions.

Please use the following guidelines to submit:

1. For submissions other than poetry: Microsoft Word or compatible file, one-inch margins, 12 pt font, Times New Roman, double-spaced.

2. For Poetry: Submit up to 3 poems in a SINGLE file.

3. A 75 word maximum author bio is required.

4. Include author contact information. Must include name, email and preferred phone contact

5. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but MUST be withdrawn immediately if accepted elsewhere.

6. We only publish previously unpublished work (this includes websites and personal blogs).

Ends on December 31, 2016

Beloved writer, editor, and critic Michelle Cliff died on June 12, 2016. Cliff edited Sinister Wisdom with Adrienne Rich from 1981 until 1983. Cliff’s novels, Abeng (1984), No Telephone to Heaven (1987), Free Enterprise (1993), and Into the Interior (2008) are beloved as well as her earliest collection, Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise (Persephone Press, 1980) and her 1985 collection, The Land of Look Behind (Firebrand Press). Her essay, “If I Could Write This in Fire, I Would Write This in Fire,” which first appeared in Claiming an Identity and was later included in Home Girls (Kitchen Table Press, 1983), was also the title of a collection of essays released by the University of Minnesota Press in 2008.

Honoring Cliff’s life and work is crucial. Sinister Wisdom invites submissions for a special issue or dossier to be published in 2017 or 2018 on Cliff’s work and legacy. Creative responses are invited as well as writings that uncover the meanings and significance of Cliff’s work. For an example of the type of work Sinister Wisdom is seeking, see Sinister Wisdom 87: Tribute to Adrienne Rich, available for purchase here: http://sinisterwisdom.org/SW87

Ends on December 31, 2016

Seeking poetry, all forms of nonfiction, fiction, hybrid work, art and photography for a 2018 issue of Sinister Wisdom revolving around the lesbian body, guest edited by poet Tara Shea Burke.

From the provocative to the mundane, the specific to the metaphorical, the relative to the cliché, this issue of Sinister Wisdom will celebrate lesbians and our relationships with and to our bodies, no matter how painful, radically indulgent, seemingly benign, and powerfully personal.

Personal narratives tell and explore the very particular lives of lesbians, how they weave, overlap, include and sometimes exclude. Work featured in this special issue can be rooted in the body but also simply begin and come back to the body as the writer or artist explores any number of topics. For example: animals, land, age, war, family, violence, sex, masturbation, food, nature, city, work, beds, babies, sleep, size, athleticism, health and/or dis-ease, love, hate, creativity, clothing, capitalism, self-harm, self-love, identity and/or identity rejection, embodiment, disembodiment, religion, farming, sex work, sex toys, hair, fingernails, fetishes, footwear—you get the point.

Encompassing as large a range of art and writing as possible, rooted in the very ground metaphor of how we experience the world—through the body—“The Lesbian Body” will penetrate deep truths about the lesbian self directly from the source. How might we better explore and accept an expansive, full-range of lesbian identity from the very messy particulars of everyday consumption, digestion, expulsion, and excretion? Where might we enrich and intersect our understanding of sexuality and identity by breaking down a host of barriers and include what we do with our bodies as perhaps even more enlightening than mere rhetoric and discourse? Can the jeans we choose to wear tell a better story of our complex humanity? Can something be a cliché and still be achingly true between the sheets? Give me your body honesty.

All forms of art and writing are welcome, as are all experiences of lesbian identity. Sinister Wisdomseeks to initiate conversations in a very multi-inclusive and expansive way. This call seeks to do that, too, and is interested in a lesbian experience that includes trans and gender non-conforming people. The body can be both a solid ground from which we stand, as well as an evolving expression. Do you identify as a lesbian, have a body, and want to write about it? Good. I want to hear from you. 

Deadline for submission: December 31, 2016

Tara Shea Burke is from Virginia and lives in the East Mountains of New Mexico with her partner, their dogs, cat, and goats. She has an MFA from Old Dominion University, served as poetry editor for The Quotable and Barely South Review, and volunteers for Sinister Wisdom as a board member and social media manager. Her chapbook Let the Body Beg was published by ELJ Publications in 2014. Published poems can be found in The Fourth River, Prime Number Magazine, Adrienne out of Sibling Rivalry Press, Yellow Chair Review and forthcoming from Tinderbox Poetry Journal. http://www.tarasheaburke.com/

NOTE: Sinister Wisdom is filled for 2014. You may continue to submit work - and we will continue to accept work, but it will be for publication in 2015 and beyond.

Material may be in any style or form, or combination of forms.

Maximum: five poems, two short stories or essays, OR one longer piece of up to 5,000 words.

Please proofread your work carefully; do not send us changes after the deadline.

Please send a short contributor biography between 25 and 125 words with your submission.



We use three pieces of full-color visual art each year for the cover of the journal. We invite visual artists to submit .jpg or .gif files of their work for consideration through Submittable.

If your work is selected, you will have to provide us high-quality .tiff files to print the cover.

We print black and white images in the pages of the journal and invite artists to submit black and white images as .jpg or .gif files for consideration. Again, if work is selected, you will have to provide us with high-quality.tiff files to print inside the pages of the journal.