Call for Submissions: Poetic Closure

Issue on Poetic Closure

“The correction of prose, because it has no fixed laws, is endless, a poem comes right with a click like a closing box.” —W.B. Yeats

“I think a poem should have doors. I wouldn’t leave them open though.” —Robert Frost

“Fulfilling of formal expectations is never sufficient condition for the experience of closure. It depends on what is said in conjunction with how it is said.” —Barbara Hernstein Smith

“Closure must open, must give us back the world somehow.” —Marianne Boruch

“I prefer the term silencing over ending. Sure, we end a poem; that’s what we do. But what happens is silence.”  —Tomas Q. Morin

“I tend to like a poem which instead of culminating in a crescendo, merely comes to a close.” —Marianne Moore.

“Tracy K. Smith once told me to think about poem endings as a door opening outward…The advice made me wonderfully wary of closing the loop, or ‘punctuating’ the train of thought or the rhythm.” —Brian Tierney [1]

For our next theme issue, we ask contributors to send us essays that explore poetic closure. Studies of poetic closure might consider how a poem achieves closure—how the poem clicks shut like a box, leaves a door open, or gives us the world back; how a poet subverts expectations or resists closure; how the poet quietly exits into silence or culminates in a crescendo; how closure functions in free verse or formal poems; among other countless possibilities.

As always, we ask that you provide a writing prompt specifically tied to your discussion, so that our readers might also explore and apply your suggestions and discoveries within their own practice. Each piece should include three components—the essay, the prompt, and the poem(s) under consideration within the essay. As a reminder, we cannot cover any reprinting expenses, so please select poems that are within the public domain, or poems that can already be accessed online.

To Submit

To submit an essay on the line, please email the editors. While we occasionally print longer work, we suggest essays range from 750 to 2,500 words. Please query us with your questions about subject, style, or mode.


Please submit your essays by January 10, 2023.

Thank you for your time and consideration—we look forward to reading your work!

—The Editors, Mentor & Muse

[1] Brian Tierney, Facebook post, August 4, 2018, quoted by Philip Metres in “The Art of Losing (and Other Visions of Revision),” Writers’ Chronicle (March/April 2019).

Photo Credit: NASA.

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