Ruminate is a community of creators cultivating authentic selves, nourishing conversations, and spiritually sustaining life together through action and art.


Ruminate Magazine is our quarterly print journal that invites slowing down and paying attention. We delight in laughter, deep reading, contemplative activism, telling stories, asking questions, and doing small things with great love, as Mother Teresa said. We are particularly excited about sharing stories, poems, and art from voices that aren't often heard.

The editor of Ruminate Magazine is Jess Jelsma Masterton. Michael Mlekoday and Hope Wabuke are the poetry editors; Joe Truscello and Emily Woodworth are the fiction editors; Madison Salters is the nonfiction editor; Carolyn Mount is the art editor; and Josh MacIvor-Andersen is the notes editor. 



The Waking is our online literary magazine that houses high-quality literary writing about what it’s like to be human. We are interested in short-form prose and visual-text hybrid work. This art can be beautiful, it can be strange, we just ask that it feels true.

The editor of The Waking is Cherie Nelson. Josh MacIvor-Andersen is the interview/book review editor.

More FAQs: 

  • General submissions are always free. 
  • Ruminate Magazine currently pays $20/page for poetry (with a maximum of $80 per poem), $20/400 words for prose, and $20/image for visual art. Ruminate Magazine firmly believes in paying our contributors, and we are working hard to increase the amount we pay them. 
  • The Waking offers an honorarium of $10 and a complimentary back issue of Ruminate Magazine (normally $15 each).
  • We only accept submissions that are previously unpublished (a piece that has had a circulation of 500 or greater, in print or online, is considered previously published). 
  • We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, please notify us right away if your work is accepted elsewhere. 
  • If you agree to allow Ruminate Magazine or The Waking to publish your work, we will receive first serial rights and all rights revert back to you.
  • We only accept online submissions, as our readers are spread across the country. Any submissions made by postal mail or email will not be considered.
  • To help keep our queue moving, please submit no more than once every six months and wait 3-4 months before inquiring about the status of your submission. 
  • Before submitting, we strongly recommend ordering a copy of Ruminate Magazine or reading The Waking to better understand the type of work each publication accepts and to tailor your submission accordingly.
  • If you need to make a correction to a submission, such as removing your contact info or withdrawing a poem from a batch of poems submitted, please use the "Allow Edit Requests" function in Submittable. 
  • If you have any trouble using this online system, please email support@submittable.com.

We look forward to reading your work!

Deadline: Oct 15th, 2021. Note: There is a 3-day grace period for this contest. All entries submitted by 11:59 PST on Oct. 18th will be considered.  

Final Judge: Erin Keane is editor in chief at Salon.com and teaches in the MA and MFA programs at Spalding University's School of Creative and Professional Writing. She's the editor of The Louisville Anthology (Belt Publishing, 2020), co-producer and co-host of These Miracles Work: A Hold Steady Podcast, and author of three collections of poetry: The Gravity Soundtrack (WordFarm, 2007), Death-Defying Acts (WordFarm, 2010), and Demolition of the Promised Land (Typecast Publishing, 2014). Her memoir in essays about family, gender, and pop culture is forthcoming from Belt in 2022.

Guidelines:

  • The entry fee is $20 and includes a complimentary digital copy of the Summer 2022 Issue featuring the recipients of this prize.
  • You may submit one essay per entry of 5500 words or less. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.
  • $1500 and publication in Ruminate will be awarded to the winner. The runner-up will receive $300 and publication in Ruminate.
  • An anonymous reading of all entries will be conducted by a panel of Ruminate readers, who will a group of finalists. Those finalists will be read by an outside judge, who will select a winner. 
  • Close friends and students (current & former) of our final judge are not eligible to compete. We define student as someone who has taken one semester-long course or more with the judge. Those who have only studied under the judge for week-long workshops and the like are still eligible. Also not eligible to compete are: regular Ruminate blog contributors, past first-place winners of any Ruminate Prize, past judges of any Ruminate prizes, and friends or family of the Ruminate staff.
  • All submissions must be submitted via Submittable, our online submission manager. We will not accept mail or email submissions. 
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished.
  • There is no theme or topic for the nonfiction prize. 
  • We do accept simultaneous submissions. However, please withdraw your entry or notify us immediately via the Submittable "note function" if your piece is accepted elsewhere.
  • You may submit any type of creative nonfiction—personal essay, short memoir, literary journalism, etc.
  • All entrants will be notified of their submission status by late January 2022.
  • Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit.
  • As a contemplative magazine, we are sometimes asked if Ruminate is seeking or only accepts "spiritual" writing. The answer to that question is no. We are simply looking for good writing and there are no restrictions on the subject matter or content for submissions. The best way to understand the work we publish is to read a past issue. You can also sign up for our weekly email newsletter, and your first email will include a free downloadable PDF of Issue 38. Find the email sign-up form here
  • If you have any trouble using this online system, please email support@submittable.com.

Readers Ruminate Topic: "Beginnings and Endings"


Each issue of Ruminate includes personal notes from our readers on a topic—we love hearing from our readers! 

We're looking for short nonfiction, 300 words or less, that tells us your honest experiences in rich image and detail. No poetry please. You can approach the topic from any angle.  

Because of space constraints, we aren't able to print all of the notes we receive. Also, we often edit the notes we receive, sometimes quite a bit, but each reader will have the chance to approve the edits. 

We will notify you if we decide to share your note in the magazine, and you'll receive a copy of the issue your note appears in. If you'd rather not have your name appear in the magazine, feel free to submit your note under "Name Withheld."

The Waking is Ruminate Community's online literary magazine that houses high-quality literary writing about what it’s like to be human. We are interested in short-form and flash prose as well as image-text/hybrid work. This art can be beautiful, it can be strange, we just ask that it feels true.

We are committed to creating a community that represents the unity and diversity of the human experience by promoting voices that typically aren’t heard, particularly those that belong to individuals from historically marginalized and oppressed groups.



Editor of The Waking: Cherie Nelson


  • Word count: 1500 words or under (you can send up to 3 micros in the same document if the total word count is under 1500.)
  • We are particularly excited about work from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other historically marginalized groups. If this is you, feel free to let us know!
  • If your work is declined, we ask that you wait three months before submitting again to the same genre unless an editor requests more work from you.
    • Please send your piece as a Word doc.
    • Simultaneous submissions are fine. Please withdraw your piece on Submittable if it has been accepted elsewhere. 



If your work is accepted: 

Part of the ethos of our magazine is working collaboratively with our writers to illuminate their lovely work! Most pieces we accept go through a revision process beyond line editing. 

We are also excited to now offer our published writers an honorarium of $10 and a complimentary back issue of our print magazine (normally $15 each)!

(Looking for short prose submissions? Go here.)

The Waking is an online literary magazine and part of the Ruminate creative community that houses high-quality literary writing about what it’s like to be human. We are interested in short-form prose and visual-text and hybrid work. This art can be beautiful, it can be strange, we just ask that it feels true.

We are committed to creating a community that represents the unity and diversity of the human experience by promoting voices that typically aren’t heard, particularly those that belong to individuals from historically marginalized and oppressed groups (LGBTQ+, BIPOC, etc.)We are committed to creating a community that represents the unity and diversity of the human experience by promoting voices that typically aren’t heard, particularly those that belong to individuals from historically marginalized and oppressed groups (LGBTQ+, BIPOC, etc.)


What do we mean by image-text and hybrid work? 

We're looking for literary work that is multimodal or doesn't fit neatly into other genre categories such as photo essays, graphic narrative, erasure pieces, work that is formally interesting or unusual, etc. Work we really love feels organic, true to itself, and makes us think "this piece couldn't have taken any other form!"


Details:

  • We are particularly excited about sharing voices that aren't often heard (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and other historically marginalized groups). If this is you, feel free to let us know!
  • If your work is declined, we ask that you wait three months before submitting again to the same genre unless an editor requests more work from you.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine. Please withdraw your piece on Submittable if it has been accepted elsewhere.


Editor of The Waking: Cherie Nelson


If your work is accepted: 

  • Part of the ethos of our magazine is working collaboratively with our writers to illuminate their lovely work! Most pieces we accept go through a revision process beyond line editing. 
  • We are also excited to now offer our published writers an honorarium of $10 and a complimentary back issue of our print magazine (normally $15 each)! 

The Waking's book reviews/interviews seek to highlight books from small, independent publishers and university presses as well as books from new and emerging writers. In general, we avoid promoting books that already receive a lot of attention (publishers like Penguin, etc.). We also prioritize books by past Ruminate Magazine or The Waking contributors as part of our mission to support our writers. When selecting books by noncontributors, there should be a clear link between the book and an emphasis on contemplative living

We are also particularly excited about featuring reviews and books from voices that aren't often heard. 

All accepted book reviews will be published on The Waking. Currently we are not paying; however, you will receive your choice of two complimentary copies of Ruminate Magazine's back issues (normally $15 each).


In general, we encourage reviews/interviews that:

  • tell a story by connecting the book to the reviewer’s own life
  • that put the book in conversation with other contemporary books or broader artistic movements
  • are themselves contemplative pieces or interesting narratives, using personal style and flair to make the review a piece of art in and of itself
  • use of personal pronouns to convey an invitation to the reader of the reviewer’s own experience with the book without being overly idiosyncratic 
  • blend summary and analysis


In general, we avoid:

  • reviews that are mixed/critical. We see reviews as a way to share and promote authors. There are plenty of platforms for dissecting where and how a book fails, but for the purposes of our readership and aims, we like to focus on what the book is doing well. This does not mean book reviews should be hyperbolic and overly enthusiastic. Rather, we seek reviews that describe the “moves” of a book on its own terms in order to give readers a taste of that book.
  • overly academic book reviews. While it’s great to bring in some outside references or theories to frame a book, we prefer reviews that use such sources minimally, as this isn’t intended for an academic audience. Successful reviews often begin with an anecdote from the reviewer’s own life, or a reference to our present social / political / popular context to frame the conversations that this book is engaging in. 


Format

  • We prefer book review submissions that are 1000 words or less and interviews that are less than 3000 words; however, we will consider longer submissions.
  • We follow Chicago Manual of Style for all quotations, etc. 
  • Please triple check quotations as we likely won’t have a copy to check it against.
  • Any relevant or helpful links should be included in the body of your submission.

    

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