submission guidelines

Breakwater Review only accepts previously unpublished work and is glad to review simultaneous submissions, but please inform us if your writing is accepted elsewhere. Breakwater is published ONLINE three times per year. Due to our volume of submissions, we are not able to answer inquiries about the status of your work.  

poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction

submissions open year-long (free reading period Sept - April)

Please submit your work via our submission manager. Submissions sent via e-mail will not be accepted.

We receive a large number of submissions. Our submission guidelines are set up to facilitate our editorial process. Please follow the instructions below to enter your submission or your manuscript will be automatically withdrawn:

  • For both poetry and prose, please use either .doc or .docx file formats. Submissions in other formats will not be accepted. 

  • Submit up to 5,000 words of prose or 3 poems per reading period. Please do not exceed the submission limits.

  • For poems, submit up to 3 poems in a single document with each poem starting on a new page. 

visual art

submissions open year-long

We prefer illustrations and paintings to photography, but good is good. We are looking for great cover art (and supplemental work) that complements the rest of the issue. Send us your best:

  • hand-drawn illustration

  • Painted prints 

  • Photography 

  • Mixed Media

  • Digital Compositions


You may submit between one and ten images per entry. We typically will not accept more than two to three images per artist. To ensure high-quality viewing, we ask that images be sized so that at least one dimension meets or exceeds 1000px. at 72ppi. Photos should arrive in .jpg or .png format and under 5mb. We may contact you for a higher-quality print if your work is accepted. 

The Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest

prize: $1000 and publication in our Spring issue​

fee: $10

“Whenever something new develops in poetry, many will argue, ‘That’s not poetry.’ Think of the reception of William Carlos Williams . . . spoken word poets, poets who incorporate graphics, poets who write in code so robots can read them. It’s all poetry.” –Joyce Peseroff

The Peseroff Prize honors Joyce Peseroff’s work as a poet, teacher, editor, innovator, and mentor. She helped found the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston, served as its first director, and retired from teaching in 2014.

Submit up to three poems and a $10 entry fee. There are no restrictions on content or form: “it’s all poetry.” Poems should be previously unpublished. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere. 


2020 FINALIST JUDGE: Oliver Baez Bendorf is a poet. He is the author of two collections, Advantages of Being Evergreen (CSU Poetry Center 2019), which Gabrielle Calvocoressi called “an essential book for our time and for all time,” and The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State U. 2015), selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. His poems can be found in recent and forthcoming issues of American Poetry Review, Poetry, BOMB, and New England Review, and were anthologized in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Oliver was born and raised in Iowa and he is currently an assistant professor of poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Bendorf holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and an MFA in Poetry and MA in Library & Information from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a fellow of the CantoMundo Poetry Workshop, recipient of the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize, and was a faculty member at the 2019 Conference on Poetry at The Frost Place in Franconia, NH. He has been a featured reader at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, The White House, Sarah Lawrence College, Indiana University, and Woodland Pattern. His work on #PulseOrlandoSyllabus was covered by Chronicle of Higher Education, Elle, and WLRN Miami.

Submissions: Open FEBRUARY 1 - MAY 1

Winner and Finalists Published in our Spring Issue.

Please do not submit your work if you are associated with the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston or Oliver Baez Bendorf.

The Breakwater Fiction Contest

prize: $1000 and publication in our Winter issue

fee: $10

We are seeking submissions for pieces that breathe freshness to the form. We are interested in previously unpublished prose ranging from 1,000 - 5,000 words, each with a $10 entry fee. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere.


Submissions: Open NOVEMBER 1st- FEBRUARY 1st.

Winner and Finalists Published in our Winter Issue.

Please do not submit your work if you are associated with the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston or the Finalist Judge.

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