Editor: Shaindel Beers, Poetry Editor; Frances Badgett, Fiction Editor; Jeff McMahon, Editor, Lyrical Commentary and Creative Non-Fiction.
Email address:

About The Publication:

“Contrary® was founded in 2003 at the University of Chicago by alumni of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. It was quickly embraced and has been abundantly nourished by graduates of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing program. It now operates independently and without a thought of profit on the South Side of Chicago and publishes writers from throughout the world. It publishes poetry, fiction, lyrical commentary, creative non-fiction, and especially works that blur the edges of those categories.” 100% freelance. Welcomes new writers. Quarterly. Pays on receipt of invoice. Publishes ms one month after acceptance. Buys all rights: “1) worldwide rights to publish in any or all versions of Contrary and other Contrary-affiliated media, including domestic and foreign, whether in the English language or translated into a foreign language, including any successor, similar or replacement versions thereof; 2) exclusive worldwide rights for a period of 90 days from the date of Contrary’s first publication of the work; 3. non-exclusive perpetual rights to republish, store, syndicate or distribute the work or portions of the work in any language and in any country, and 4) the right to use your name and likeness in a fair and dignified manner and to publish information about you in connection with the advertising and promotion of Contrary and of the Work. 5) When exclusive rights expire after three months, the author is free to seek republication elsewhere, but Contrary must be credited in all subsequent publications. 6) All rights granted by this agreement are granted in perpetuity and applicable in all media including, but not limited to, all electronic media, internet, wireless or mobile platforms whether now known or hereafter created.” No reprints. Responds in less than 90 days.

Pays $20 per author, per issue.

Current Needs:

“Poetry — We believe poetry is contrary by nature, always defying, always tonguing the tang of novelty. We look especially for plurality of meaning, for dual reverberation of beauty and concern. Contrary’s poetry in particular often mimics the effects of fiction or commentary. We find ourselves enamored of prose poems because they are naturally contrary toward form – they tug on the forces of exposition or narrative – but prose poems remain the minority of all the poetic forms we publish. Please consider that Contrary receives vast amounts of poetry and that we can publish only a small percentage of that work. Please submit no more than three poems per issue. Fiction — We ask our fiction writers to imagine their readers navigating a story with one finger poised over a mouse button. Can your story stay that finger to the end? We have published long stories on the belief that they succeed, but we feel more comfortable with the concise. We favor fiction that is contrary in any number of ways, but our fiction typically defies traditional story form. A story may bring us to closure, for example, without ever delivering an ending. It may be as poetic as any poem.

Lyrical commentary/creative non-fiction —“Commentary” is our word for the stuff that others define negatively as non-fiction, nominally as essay, or naively as truth. We favor commentary that delivers a message less through exposition than through artistry. The commentary we select is often lyrical, narrative, or poetic.”

Pays $20 per author, per issue. Must invoice within six months. Less than 3,000 words. Submit online only.

Pays $20 per author, per issue.



“1. Use only one space between sentences. Only one space is needed between sentences unless you are publishing on a typewriter. Typewriters are monospaced — they allot exactly the same amount of space for an i as they do for an m — and monospacing tends to visually obscure the transition from one sentence to the next. So for many years typing teachers have taught their students to use two spaces between sentences. But word processors, including the one you’re sitting at right now, are capable of proportional spacing — they allot about one-fifth as much space for an i as they do for an m — and a single space is sufficient to distinguish between sentences in a proportionally spaced document. Have a look at any professionally-produced book or magazine and you’ll usually find only one space between sentences. 2. Put your name on your paper. Include your name and contact information, including your email address, at the top of the document you attach. You’ve worked hard on your story, poem, or commentary; don’t forget to identify it as your own. This information will help us track your submission and get in touch with you quickly. 3. Include the word count of your submission at the top of the document you attach. It’s standard practice in publishing to declare length up front, and it’s a good idea to let editors know what’s coming. 4. Make sure your submission is free of typos and grammatical errors. We receive many submissions with these fundamental problems, sometimes in their opening sentences, testifying against the writer. 5. Name the file in a way that helps us identify it as your submission. Guess how many files we receive named “Contrary.doc.” Thousands. Use your last name in the file name: YourName.doc or, if you wish, something like Contrary-YourName.doc. 6. If your submission defies our guidelines — for example, if you’re submitting a very long story or a commentary that consists largely of argument or exposition — please tell us why you think it belongs in Contrary anyway.”

Welcomes New Writers: