The Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Prize
Poetry: Poetry of any length is accepted. However, we don't generally publish lengthy epic or prose or oddly formatted poems.
Spoken Word: All poetry guidelines apply. Please include a link to your high quality video of the poem(s) submitted.
Non-Fiction: Clear & direct writing that speaks to the craft &/or process of writing or creating visual art. We are very interested in critical theory, philosophical musing regarding literary theory or art theory, book reviews, and the state of contemporary art & literature. We want to read work that will enlighten, invigorate & prompt us toward new perceptions of emergent or established works. As a reference point read the Spring 2019 essay by Sarah Simon.
Interviews: We accept polished, well edited, interviews with artists, writers & lyricists that allow our readers into the conversation about process and the creative impulse. Reference our archived interviews.
Simultaneous subs accepted, but please let us know right away of your poem's acceptance elsewhere. We'd like to be among the first to congratulate you.
Our Archived issues are a good reference point for the kind of poetry & art we support.
Please direct comments & queries to
Additionally, we will accept only previously unpublished material.
That restriction includes publication in a blog or elsewhere online.
Ploughshares Literary Boroughs Series
Ithaca is a small city in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. It sits at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, surrounded by state parks, smaller towns, farms, and wineries. Like most other college towns it’s a little island of economic stability with liberal politics, an active cultural scene, and bartenders with PhDs. Throngs of writers live in and around Ithaca, and two of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2011 were by current residents Eleanor Henderson and Téa Obreht.
Ithaca and its campuses appear in many works by writers...Their characters drink in our bars, renovate houses, have affairs with graduate students, and fall to their deaths in the gorges. Diane Ackerman’s recent Cultivating Delight provides a literary naturalist’s view of her Ithaca garden through the seasons. Vladimir Nabokov taught literature at Cornell for fourteen years and lived in ten different homes around town. Lolita, Pnin, and Pale Fire are all partially set here. Cleaning Nabokov's House by Ithacan Leslie Daniels is "...warmly funny and audacious in this shrewd and saucy mix of family drama, gender discord, sexual healing, and high literature..."[ Booklist ]
Two online literary journals are based partly here and partly in New York City: Essays and Fictions is an online journal of literature and criticism, and the quarterly online journal, IthacaLit, publishes poetry, non-fiction, and visual art.
I’m a home writer myself but many other people write in the Gimme! Coffee shops. The various locations of Ithaca Bakery and Collegetown Bagels can be crowded, but there are always people working in them...I don’t think I’ve ever written in a bar, but if I was going to, I would try Felicia’s Atomic Lounge, the owner is a writer and cartoonist herself.
Sara Catterall was born in Ankara, grew up in Minneapolis, and lives outside Ithaca, NY with her family. She has a BFA from NYU and an MLS from Syracuse University. Her work has been published in Eclectica magazine and The Sun magazine, and she recently completed a novel. Sometimes she is on Twitter @SaraCatterall