Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What's the best way of sending events for the calendar?
    Send an e-mail to place the event in the body of the e-mail, no attachments, no posters just straight text with the date, time, location, names of readers and titles of books being launched or signed, plus contact info, such as e-mail, telephone and website link.
  2. I see you ask for a brief biography in your guidelines. How should it be done?
    Consult the biographies found in the writers' index. Write no more than 50 words. Include recent publications. Write in the third person.
  3. If I post my poems on my blog, does that count as previously published?
    If you send us a poem that you've published on your blog, it would be great if you could replace the poem on your blog with a link to your poem on our site.
  4. If I send you a bunch of my poems, or give you a link to my website, can you just pick the ones you want to use?
    No. You have to prepare a submission package with cover letter, biography and poems. The poems will be considered by our selection committee. They will not know your name. They will choose poems based on only the poem's quality. It's up to you to pick work that you believe is your best when you submit to a literary journal.
  5. After I submitted my poems to your site, I received a userid and password with my acknowledgement. The userid and password I typed in didn't work.
    These userids and passwords are deliberately long and unwieldy for security purposes. Instead of trying to type them in, simply cut and paste them from the e-mail. Make sure you don't have capitals lock on.
  6. My poetry has been rejected numerous times at Bywords. Do you have any advice about how to get poetry published on the site?
    There's no one style we publish. Each member of the selection committee reads the work without seeing the names of who submits and then votes. The poems with the most votes are published. The best way to get feedback about one's writing is to take a workshop or class and also just keep reading lots of current poetry and keep writing. Don't take rejection personally. If you are experimenting and pushing the limits as good poems do, it's more likely that work is rejected than accepted, especially at the beginning.
  7. Do I have to know someone on the editorial board to get my poems published?
    No. When voting on the poems, the selection committee does not see the poets' names, just the poems. Bywords publishes poems, not poets. We publish only approximately 6% of the poems we receive.
  8. Why did my poems get rejected?
    Bywords receives between 30 and 165 poems a month. Each member of the selection committee has his/her own stylistic tastes and preferences from traditional to avant garde. The poems selected are those with the most votes. Each poem is considered over three months and the quality of the poems we receive may vary. If your poem is rejected, it may be that in that particular three month period, other poems received more votes than yours.
  9. Does Bywords give feedback about why poems are rejected?
    No. If you'd like feedback on your work, take one of the numerous workshops offered in your literary community. Ottawa has several. See the workshop section of the Bywords news.
  10. I received an acknowledgement when I submitted my poems, but haven't heard whether they were accepted or rejected?
    You should receive an acceptance or rejection e-mail within three months from your poem's first month of eligibility. Aside from checking your junk mail folder, also ensure that the e-mail address you used to send out the poems is still valid. If you change e-mail services, please send Bywords the new e-mail. Feel free to query at any time to verify the status of your submissions.
  11. I submitted my poems via e-mail, but haven't heard anything.
    Acknowledgements are automatically sent out by, usually within 24 hours. Check your junk mail or spam folder to see if the message appears in there. If not, send out a querying e-mail.
  12. Can poems be considered just for the Bywords Quarterly Journal?
    No. First a poem must be published on line on our site before we will consider it and the writer's other poems for the journal.
  13. How can I check the status of my poetry submissions?
    Click on this symbol to check the status of your poetry submissions. You will then be prompted for your account and password.
  14. When are new issues put up?
    The fifteenth of every month.
  15. When my poems were considered for, I was told they would be evaluated for three months. Subsequently one of the poems I submitted was published on and I received a message that it and the other poems I submitted would be considered for the next BQJ. After that I got a message saying my poems would not be published in the BQJ and were no longer being considered, even though the original message said they would be considered for three months. How does that work?

    A poem has a maximum evaluation period of three months. If it's published on, it and all of the other poems submitted by that person within the evaluation period move to the voting for the BQJ. This means that all of the person's poems have been considered and voted on by the selection committee. At that point if the poems aren't chosen, the person is notified that the poems will not be published by Bywords.