Guidelines for Atlas Poetica


Atlas Poetica is a literary journal published several times a year in an 8.5″ x 11″ perfect bound print version, e-book version, and online on the World Wide Web. It is dedicated to publishing and promoting fine tanka poetry of place (including waka, kyoka, gogyoshi, and tanka written in variant forms).

Reading Schedule

You may submit at any time to Atlas Poetica. ATPO publishes when the issue is full, and will publish however many issues per year the submissions warrant. Any submissions not read for the current issue will be automatically considered for the next issue.

Sometimes with have a theme for an issue. You are welcome to send submissions on something other than the theme, but we will use as much space as possible for the theme, which may not leave room for other submissions. Themes are announced via Keibooks-Announce@googlegroups, on our blog, and by our account @Keibooks1 on Twitter.

Summary of Submission Guidelines

Atlas Poetica welcomes unpublished tanka/waka/kyoka/gogyoshi, either single poems or sets and sequences, single author or multi-author. We also accept related poetry, such as sedoka, mondo, cherita, ryuka, and zuihitsu, but we do not accept haiku, unless it occurs as an incidental item in a larger tanka work. We consider socially published submissions if they are identified as such.

We welcome international submissions, but require that poems written in languages other than English be accompanied by an English translation. Limited translation services are available in several European languages. Please query first if translation is needed. In addition, we will NOT accept poems that are English translations only, the poem in its original language must be included. The submitter, by virtue of submitting works to Atlas Poetica, certifies that he or she is the authorized agent of all authors and translators. All translators receive a byline.

Atlas Poetica’s Selection Criteria

We are interested in both traditional and innovative verse of high quality and all serious attempts to assimilate Japanese waka, tanka, kyoka and gogyoshi genres into a continuously developing English tradition of tanka literature, as well as supporting the development of tanka around the world. We encourage submissions of tanka in translation and non-fiction articles relating to any tanka topic, but especially to tanka poetry of place and international tanka.

Our touchstone is tanka and its close relatives, waka, kyoka, and gogyoshi, but we will accept sets and sequences in which tanka is the basic unit of organization, but which may include verses in other forms, including haiku, cherita, couplets, monostiches, quatrains, sedoka, ryuka, prose, etc. Thus a Wilsonian sequence, a tanka sequence with a haiku envoy, or a sequence in which sonnets alternate with tanka are some possible examples. We also accept one line, two line, three line, four line, word tanka, shaped tanka, tanka sonnets, and other non-standard tanka.

We also publish related forms on their own, such as sedoka, mondo, cherita, and ryuka. We do not publish anything shorter than tanka as a standalone: no haiku or senryu.

We also accept ‘shaped tanka’ in which special formatting contributes to the work. Such visual layouts are limited to a maximum of two side by side 8.5” x11” pages (excluding margins, gutter, header, and footer) for a total area of 14” x 8.5”. We do not accept illustrated tanka. Due to incompatibilities between computer systems, formatting does not always survive, therefore your submission should include a plain text version along with the specially formatted version. Unintelligible submissions will be rejected. DO NOT SEND ATTACHMENTS unless requested. If we are interested in a submission that has special needs, we will request an attachment and provide technical specifications for it.

International Character Sets

We accept tanka in international alphabets; however, we may require your assistance in handling non-European fonts. We are able to handle most accented Latin characters,, Cyrillic alphabet, and Capecoast (African) characters, as well as Chinese, Japanese and Hebrew, and probably others as well. Send a query with a small sample text in the designated language/character set; we will let you know if we need additional assistance. The sample text should appear in the body of the email. See note above regarding unsolicited attachments.

Multi-Author Works and Agents

We accept multi-author works if the submitting author includes a statement of permission from the other author(s) and/or translator(s) designating him/her as their authorized agent with regard to the work. Cc to the represented authors/translators is usually deemed sufficient. The publisher, editor, and other staff are obliged only to notify the designated agent. It is the agent’s responsibility to convey information to the author(s) and translator(s) s/he represents.

We accept tan-renga, multi-author tanka, collaborative tanka, and responsive tanka. Do NOT send renga/renku that would be welcome by mainstream haiku magazines; we are seeking new ground in collaborative tanka.

Derivative Works

Works which depend on another author’s works, such as ‘found tanka,’ must either be accompanied by the original author’s permission, or constitute ‘fair use’ as designated in the laws of the United States and the treaties regarding copyright to which it is party. When any doubt arises, we take a strict view of copyright matters and will not publish questionable work.


Tanka is a short, compact, lyric poem composed of five poetic phrases, originally from Japan. In English, tanka is a genre as well as a form; it is not just any five lines. For example, it is not a limerick. Tanka compress a great deal of meaning into a small melodious poem. The degree of compression is marked and sharply exceeds other forms. Tanka generally accomplishes its compaction and lyricism through Japanese aesthetics because fourteen hundred years of practice have developed powerful tools to accomplish those goals. However, as tanka is adapted into other languages, other tools are being discovered and developed. It is compactness and lyricism that are hallmarks of tanka, not the specific tools used to accomplish those goals.

Waka are those tanka which adhere to neoclassical Japanese aesthetics as typified by the poets of the Man’yōshū, Kokin Wakashū and Shin Kokin Wakashū eras of Japanese literature. ATPO is a journal of contemporary tanka, therefore it does not seek imitations of classical Japanese waka. However, those waka which otherwise adhere to the journal’s guidelines are welcome.

Kyoka developed at the same time as waka. It addressed subjects and used treatments excluded by the refined aesthetics of waka. It used vernacular language, puns, slang, vulgarity, wordplay, whimsy, parody, satire, and oddity ,and continues to do so in English. Kyoka has no limits on subject matter or treatment, and so, like limericks, may descend into the vulgar and scatological. There is no requirement for ‘poetic’ language. However, kyoka may also be literary and witty. Kyoka lends itself to wordplay, puzzles, and games.

In Japan, waka, tanka and kyoka follow a pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables, known in English as ‘sanjuichi’ (from the Japanese word for ‘thirty-one’). However, obtaining the same lightness and suppleness in English usually requires a shorter word count. ATPO does not require any particular pattern or length, but it does not accept works in which the author’s sole understanding of waka, tanka or kyoka is the syllable count.

Gogyoshi is a recent development in Japan which abandons the sanjuichi pattern to construct short poems. Otherwise it adheres to the tanka expectation of brevity and compactness. Since syllable-counting is not part of the definition of tanka in English, there is little difference between tanka in English and gogyoshi in English.

We accept all forms from microtanka to sanjuichi to SLSLL to free style tanka to shaped tanka. We also accept wordplay and puzzle kyoka, such as acrostics, flats, ‘hidden name’ and other games as long as they adhere to the guidelines.

What We Do Not Publish

We do not publish poems which are not tanka, waka, kyoka, gogyoshi or one of their recognized variants. We do not publish material that is doggerel, pornographic, hateful, or bigoted. We do publish work with frank language regarding taboo subjects. All decisions are made at the sole discretion of the editor.

The Importance of Place

Our reason for existence is tanka poetry of place and international tanka; we are a literary atlas of tanka. Therefore, place information must accompany every poem submitted. If no place information is supplied, the author’s country of residence will be assumed to be the place for each poem accepted. We will publish short notes on a space-available basis; the author should consider turning long notes into a work of tanka prose. Poems which are generic in location are not wanted; poems that evoke a strong sense of place (geographic or cultural), whether it be ‘kitchen’ or ‘Sahara Desert’ are what we seek.

Book Reviews and Notes

Atlas Poetica cannot guarantee that we will review unsolicited books sent for review; we may choose to review such an unsolicited book or not. All books received, solicited or unsolicited, will not be returned, whether reviewed or not. We publish “Book Notes” and announcements on a space available basis. (Haiku-only announcements will not be published.) If you wish to submit a fully written Book Note (200 words maximum), we will consider publishing it; no guarantees. No biographical entry is published with a Book Note. For both book reviews and notes/announcements, those which have some relevance to the scope of Atlas Poetica, i.e., tanka poetry of place or international tanka, will receive priority. There is no charge to publish a book note or review.

Articles and Essays

Atlas Poetica is interested in serious articles and essays of interest to our target audience, which is to say, readers of tanka poetry of place around the world. Any length is acceptable with a target range of 500–5000 words. We are sensitive to copyright infringement, so be certain that you have and provide any necessary permissions for works quoted in an article or essay. Please see the U.S. Copyright Office Information Circulars and Factsheets webpage at for more information on copyright. We may solicit articles and essays, but we are also glad to receive them after queries or even over the transom.

The criteria for publication of articles and essays are that the topic be of interest to our readers, that the author(s) have something to say, and that the article or essay be well written. We are interested in items aimed at anyone from amateurs and casual readers up to literary critics and PhD candidates. We particularly welcome articles which provide information about tanka traditions around the world. Articles can be written in any language and need not be translated into English. However, Atlas Poetica has a limited range of languages which we can read and translate, so this will necessarily affect our ability to make informed decisions about articles in languages other than English. Please inquire before submitting an article without an English translation.

We do NOT exclude good articles simply because they propose an idea with which we do not agree. We do NOT exclude good articles simply because the author is someone not in favor with us, with readers, or with the tanka community in general. We do NOT publish inferior articles on the basis of their agreement with our various positions on relevant matters, and we do NOT publish articles simply because they are by well-known names. In short, the publication of articles and essays is decided according to our editorial criteria. Concomitantly, publication of any article or essay in Atlas Poetica cannot reasonably, and should not, be taken as an endorsement by Atlas Poetica or Keibooks of the propositions and ideas contained therein. We publish, as we are able, multiple viewpoints on tanka questions and issues.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor of Atlas Poetica are welcome and may be published in the currently open issue. Please put “LETTER TO THE EDITOR” in the subject line of your email to distinguish letters intended for publication from other correspondence. Your letter may be edited for grammar, spelling, or brevity.

No Graphic Art

Atlas Poetica does not publish unsolicited graphics of any kind. Our covers are planned years in advance to create a harmonious sequence when viewed side by side, so we do not need cover art submissions.


We do NOT work with contributors who fail to exhibit professionalism, who engage in dishonest or abusive behavior, who are rude or insulting to our staff or colleagues, who lack integrity, or who will not follow our guidelines.

No Simultaneous Submissions

Please do not submit anything on offer anywhere else. Generally speaking, if you submit within the designated window, you will have a response within two months. However, due to the exigencies of publishing, until the issue actually goes to print, there is no guarantee. It is rare, but sometimes necessary, to make last-minute cuts or changes.

Not Previously Published

We primarily seek to publish fine tanka/waka/kyoka/gogyoshi that have not been previously published in English. Each poet is personally responsible for noting in the submission any previous publication of any submitted work. We, of course, reserve the discretion to select previously published work of extraordinary merit from time to time. We prefer items that have not been previously seen in English, but will consider socially published items that appeared in non-edited venues, such a the author’s Twitter feed or personal website if they are identified as such.

PLEASE NOTE: This is an edited journal. We DO NOT publish everything that is submitted to us. We reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion in ALL cases. There are plenty of other venues to publish poetry if you do not agree with our guidelines and decisions. We recommend our Resource section to learn more about them.

Occasionally, we may want to offer some editorial comment, assistance, guidance, etc., in which case, we will respond to your submission before publication. You always have the right to decline to make any changes suggested, and we have the right to decline to publish the work if it does not meet our criteria. You will always receive an explicit response from us indicating that your work is being accepted, declined, or held for further review. In the event you make multiple submissions, we will respond to each submission individually. Thus, if you submit A and B to us, and we decline A, that means only that we have declined A. You will receive a response to B when we make our decision. Not all decisions are made at the same time.


If your email doesn’t work, then you will not receive your notification. Likewise, if your spam filter/security software rejects our email, you will not receive our notices. We will attempt an alternative email if we have it, but it is up to you to maintain an open line of communication with us.


We strongly encourage all prospective contributors to subscribe to our Google Group: Keibooks-Announce.
This announcement-only email list sends 0-6 announcements a month regarding Atlas Poetica, as well as the literary projects of M. Kei, owner and publisher of Keibooks, and other publications by Keibooks. It does not forward third party items. It does not publish discussion.

Gmail users can sign up in Groups and for those who don’t use Gmail, please sign-up by sending an email to Keibooks-Announce : you can either click on the link or mail to keibooks-announce + subscribe @ googlegroups . com
(Each element in that address is necessary including the + symbol; the strange formatting is our attempt to overcome the limitations of WordPress. If you have any problems, please email and we’ll do our best to help.)

Rights Sought

We seek first world English rights, including print, digital, and online versions, plus the right to reprint the work in our compilations and archives. Exceptions are granted on a case by case basis and should be queried in advance. Complete publication history must accompany previously published works. The journal appears in both print and ebook forms, therefore it will remain in print indefinitely but may be withdrawn or changed at the sole discretion of the publisher. We also have the right to reprint the work to promote the journal or educate the public about the journal, such as press releases, sample content, readings, etc. The publisher is not required to notify the contributor regarding such items.

If we discover that the work has been previously published or submitted simultaneously, we will reject it. Errors happen, and we appreciate being notified when they do. However, a submitter who develops a record of failing to respect our submissions policy runs the risk of not being published at all. There are many fine poets who understand the importance of editorial guidelines and are happy to comply with them.


We have an exclusive right to publish your poem from the time you submit it until ninety days after the print edition becomes available. At that time, all rights revert to the author(s) and are free to be submitted elsewhere. In the event that a poem previously published by Atlas Poetica is reprinted elsewhere, we expect a credit to be given, e.g. “First published in Atlas Poetica [#].”

If you wish to republish the poem during our period of exclusivity, you need our permission. However, once our period of exclusivity has expired, you are free to publish it anywhere you like and do not need our permission and do not need to notify us. Poets are encouraged to purchase the issue in which their work was published, but it is not a requirement for publication.


Translators are expected to follow all applicable copyright laws of the US and international treaties as well as the submission guidelines. That means the translator must have the permission of the author to translate and submit the translation and original work for publication. Likewise, if an author has translations in hand, they must have the permission of the translator to furnish the translations. Translated works must identify the translator(s) as well as author(s) and provide a statement of permission from all relevant parties. One person will be the agent authorized to act on behalf of the author(s) and translator(s) and the publisher will interact only with the agent. It is the agent’s duty to disseminate information and obtain permissions as necessary for the publication of the work. Biographies for the translator(s) will be published as well as the author(s).

Email Policy

We will not include an email address with your Contributor Note unless you specifically request it. Including it in your biographical information is considered a request. No live links will be included in any case.

No Payment for Contributions

No payment will be made. No contributor copies are furnished free. There will be no payment of any kind for accepted submissions for any issue of Atlas Poetica.

Read Our Copyright Policy and Our Privacy Policy

Please click on the links below and familiarize yourself with our copyright policy and our privacy policy:
Copyright Policy
Educational Use Notice
Privacy Policy
Cookie Policy
Information from the US Copyright Office

Contributor’s Responsibilities

If you choose to submit any work(s) for publication in Atlas Poetica, please read and follow the Submission Guidelines, as well as our Copyright, Privacy, and Editorial Policies. By submitting work(s) to Atlas Poetica, you are representing to Atlas Poetica, its editor and its publisher, that you hold the copyright to the work(s) or are the authorized agent, and you are granting Atlas Poetica rights in accordance with the published Copyright Policy and Submission Guidelines of Atlas Poetica, and that you hold Atlas Poetica, Keibooks, its publisher, editor(s), staff and agents harmless in all respects from any copyright infringement caused by your submission.

How to Submit to Atlas Poetica

You may submit up to forty tanka/waka/kyoka/gyogoshi/sedoka/mondo/cherita/ryuka/other at one time. We may publish as few as 1 or 2 poems or a larger number. Please do NOT send us works that are still in progress. We will also consider sequences and sets of up to forty poems. Please query for longer works. Please send polished works free from errors.

Make your submission by sending your poems to in the body of an email. Do NOT send unsolicited attachments. Emails with attachments will be deleted. If you need clarification, or have a special situation you want to discuss, please feel free to write to the Editor at

What to Include

Include this personal information with your email submission and send it to
SUBJECT LINE: “Atlas Poetica submission – [Your Name]”

  1. Name.
  2. Email Address.
  3. An alternative Email Address if you have one.
  4. Bio sketch written in the third person. (75 words max.)
    Include your location: [City, State/Province] Country.
    We reserve the right to edit bios for length, grammar, or any other reason. We may decline to publish biographies due to space limitations.
  5. Age – check this box IF YOU ARE UNDER 16: [ ]—Younger than 16. If so, please visit the Young American Poetry Digest at
  6. Submission: 1 to 40 poems, including location information.

NOTE: You must be 16 or older to submit anything to our journal. If you are under 16, EXIT NOW! Please visit the Young American Poetry Digest.

Feel free to copy and paste the above list to your email, for convenience’s sake, then send it in an email to the SUBMISSIONS email address. Add your poetry submission after your personal information WITHIN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL.

Non-Discrimination Policy

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, creed, religion, political belief, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or family status, or disability. All material should be appropriate for an audience age 16 and up. We do not shy away from controversial subjects, but most political satires fail as poetry.

Original copyright © 2007–2009 by MET Press (Modern English Tanka Press). Used with permission. Changes copyright © Keibooks 2019.