Rhizome Press

Quality poetry since 2002

Now Featuring Extreme Formalism

Rhizome Press is a small poetry press currently focused on publishing anthologies of extreme formal poetry written in English.

The press's preference includes close attention to vivid imagery, compressed language that is precise yet layered, strict rhyme and meter, musicality, and accessible meaning. Surprise, humor, modern topics, and radical content are encouraged, as are fresh takes on traditional themes. See submission details below.

Be sure to check out
Extreme Sonnets, Extreme Formal Poems, and Extreme Sonnets II available now on Amazon and in select bookstores.

Extreme Love Sonnets (submission period begins Oct. 1, 2022; deadline TBD, 2023)
This call is for romantic love sonnets only (not re: family besides spouses, friends, pets, God, country, etc.). Though "romantic love" grants a wide scope of subjects, voices, modes, etc., which includes approaching "romantic" or "love" ironically, metaphorically, obliquely, or from a distance, and of course includes sex and sexual awakening, nothing schmaltzy or prosy will be considered.

Poets may submit up to ten
extreme sonnets. The editor welcomes the max ten sonnets, might invite the poet to submit additional sonnets during the open submission period, and might accept more than ten of a poet's sonnets. Poems included in previous Rhizome Press anthologies are automatically considered and do not count toward the maximum ten-poem submission.

Each sonnet must be titled, not numbered. Sonnets should be the traditional fourteen lines (stanzas are fine) in iambic pentameter, with a traditional rhyme scheme (not stacked running couplets) of pure rhymes (not slant or eye rhymes). No falling end rhymes are allowed, except possibly in a closing couplet. With the exception of spondees, rarely are substitutions for iambs justified.

Please do not submit sequences, though you may submit two companion sonnets if the pair has a title and each sonnet has its own subtitle. If the editor chooses only one of the two sonnets, its subtitle can become its title. Each of the two paired sonnets counts toward the max of ten sonnets. (Check with the editor first for an okay to submit more than two companion poems; long sequences will not be included.) Please do not include poems with footnotes, long epigraphs, or personal epigraphs (such as 'to my wife'); if your epigraph is a quote, be sure to include name and text source (for example, poet's name and title of poem).

Include at the bottom of your submission file your bio (err on the side of too much, which can be edited). Please format your file in Times New Roman 11 or 12 point with inserted page and section breaks removed. Do not use all caps for poem titles. Attach your sonnets and bio as a single file in .doc, .docx, odt, or PDF format only in a single email with "[your full name], love sonnet anthology" as the subject heading. Submit your attached file as an independent document, not via Google Docs, etc. If your submission contains poems you copied/pasted from an online source, remove online formatting and replace with clean document formatting. Emails containing additional attachments, links, images, or more than ten poems will likely be discarded without being read. Needless to say, do not send sonnets that are not

Sonnets may be previously published and may be published elsewhere at any time if accepted for the anthology.

*** What is Extreme Formalism in Poetry?
Extreme formalism is characterized by regularity that restricts exception. Extreme poetry sticks to impeccably consistent structure: pure rhyme (allowing for regional pronunciation) that adheres to a clearly defined repetition scheme, with rhymes close enough together that they register; meter that is consistent, with exceptions only for stresses, and then rarely and only when the context calls for it, but with no added or subtracted syllables (though allowing for elision, and colloquial and regional pronunciation); and when a line is broken, the parts taken together equal a line with the requisite beats and rhyme.

Nonce forms using varied meters are still
consistently structured. For example, if the first stanza is five lines, two iambic pentameter followed by two iambic tetrameter followed by a final iambic pentameter, rhymed a,a,b,b,a, then the next stanza follows the same meter and rhyme pattern, though the rhyme might be b,b,c,c,b or c,c,d,d,c, and so on. Rising and falling rhymes must be used consistently within stanzas. For example, in a poem of five-line stanzas, if lines three and five end with falling rhymes and the other rhymes are rising, all the poem’s stanzas must follow the same pattern. The stanza pattern is consistent throughout. Unlike semi-formal poetry, extreme poetry’s structure is tight and precise.

Extreme sonnets are fixed-form sonnets. Sonnet variations (for example, trochaic instead of iambic) are considered for an anthology of extreme formal poetry but not for an anthology dedicated strictly to extreme sonnets.

For more info and clarification, the Preface for each previously published anthology might be useful.

Extreme Sonnets III (submission period TBD)

*** Extreme Formal Poems II (submission period TBD)

*** Publishing info
Rhizome Press typically responds to general emails within a few days. Poets whose poems are accepted for an anthology will typically be notified once all final selections have been made. The anthology itself will be published as soon as possible thereafter. Due to the large number of poets represented in an anthology, and because poetry books rarely recoup publishing costs, the press is unable to compensate with payment or free copies.

Contact email (emails containing links or attachments will not be read)

Beth Houston is Rhizome Press editor.
Surface Rhizomes of German Iris. The Illustrated Dictionary of Gardening: A Practical and Scientific Encyclopedia of Horticulture for Gardeners and Botanists. Edited by George Nicholson, of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published by L. Upcott Gill, 170, Strand, London, W.C., 1887.
Rhizome Press logo designed by Dena Van Derveer, 2002