• #11Forklift, Ohio: Issue #11
  • #12Forklift, Ohio: Issue #12
  • #13Forklift, Ohio: Issue #13
  • #14Forklift, Ohio: Issue #14
  • #15Forklift, Ohio: Issue #15
  • #16Forklift, Ohio: Issue #16
  • #17Forklift, Ohio: Issue #17
  • #18Forklift, Ohio: Issue #18
  • #19Forklift, Ohio: Issue #19
  • #20Forklift, Ohio: Issue #20
  • #21Forklift, Ohio: Issue #21
  • #22Forklift, Ohio: Issue #22
  • #23Forklift, Ohio: Issue #23
  • #24Forklift, Oeno: Bin #24
  • #25Forklift, Ohio: Issue #25
  • #26Forklift, Ohio: Issue #26
  • #27Forklift, Ohio: Issue #27
  • #28Forklift, Ohio: Issue #28
  • #29-30Forklift, Ohio: Issue #29-30
  • #31Forklift, Ohio: Issue #31
  • #32Forklift, Ohio: Issue #32
  • #33Forklift, Ohio: Issue #33
  • #34Forklift, Ohio: Issue #34
  • #35-36Forklift, Ohio: Issue #35-36



Why do you ask people to query the editors first?

We ask people to query the editors first because, as much as possible, we want to develop some kind of relationship with the people who are interested in the journal, and this is one way to start that process from the get-go. It gives us a chance to say hello and let you know there are actual people on the other end of the line. We're not autobots, and neither are you--the PEOPLE who submit work to Forklift, Ohio

That said, asking people to query first also seems to discourage those among us who don't really care where they get published and send the same submission to a hundred journals simultaneously (see more on that below). 

The hope is that Forklift, Ohio can continue to help build a diverse community of writers with shared interests and criss-crossing, overlapping aesthetic sensibilities under the umbrella of poetry, cooking, and light industrial safety. We are genuinely interested in the people who write the work we publish, and we hope they are genuinely interested in what we do.

What are you looking for in the query?

As far as what the “query” is, it really varies. Some people send fairly formal letters where they tell us why they think their work’s a good fit for the journal, but most people just say something like. “Hey Forklift People, This is my query. How do I submit?” Either approach (and anything in between) is a-okay with us. An email from a real human being is all that’s required—of course, it helps to be nice. 

One thing we love, though this is certainly not required, is to hear how someone found out about the journal, since after 22 years we still have no idea how people find it.  We should note also that we read ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE who sends us a query and then follows it up with a submission. There is no selection process where we decide whether or not someone gets to submit based on the query. 

After I send the query what happens?

A real human being will reply with an enthusiastic “thank you” and give you the specific submission guidelines.
Can I query outside the reading period (i.e. the month of May)?
Yes! You can send a query for the guidelines anytime, but you can only submit May. 

Why do you need me to include my bio and address in the submission itself?

We do this so that in the event that we do take something, we don’t have to hunt this info down later. The bio plays no role whatsoever in our decisions, and most of the time we don’t even read them. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been published before or where you earned your degrees. We want to publish great work that slays us. The address is so we have some place to send your contributor copies.

Why don’t you take simultaneous submissions?

We usually respond to a submission in 4-6 weeks (8 at the max). Under normal circumstances, we’re not going have someone’s sub for six months or a year, and if we do, we either made a mistake or we will be in touch with a really good reason. The latter has never happened. Sadly, the former has happened 3 or 4 times over the years, but we always try and make it right.

The bigger issue with simultaneous subs is this: It’s a drag to spend time really reading a submission and deciding to take something and then have it yanked out from under us. It’s essentially a lot of work for nothing. We really do read everything we get multiple times, and we have a blast doing it. We care deeply about the work. We like to think about it. We take our time. By the way, there’s no slush pile—we think it’s horrible to call someone’s work “slush.” 

We hope that the people who send us work want to be published in Forklift, Ohio because they share some affinity with what we do. As a result, we want to have a real chance to accept or reject the work that gets submitted without having to worry that great stuff is going to be snapped-up by somebody else before (or worse, after) we’ve had a chance to read it. It does take a little time, but given how long most journals hang onto submissions these days, hopefully people will think 4-6 weeks with us is worth the wait.  

Any advice about what/how to submit to Forklift, Ohio?

Know something about the places where you’re submitting your work, and have a sense of why you think your work’s a good fit for them. Beyond that, be yourself. Be open. Be kind. Don’t think too much—you can’t think your way into an acceptance, so send the work you’re really excited about. 

Always have faith in yourself and believe in your work. Don’t compare yourself to other people. If you get rejected (and you really think your work’s a good fit), try again. 

All of us are writers, too, and we have been rejected over and over by a lot of the journals we love, and it’s ALWAYS a bummer. But often if we keep sending work, we have found that suddenly they take something, and it’s the most amazing feeling—not only the acceptance, but knowing that we persevered. Keep at it. This actually happens a lot with Forklift—that people submit and get rejected multiple times, and then suddenly we take some poems. 

Sadly, we have to reject a lot of work we actually like, but that for whatever reason, just doesn’t fit in the context of the current issue’s jigsaw puzzle.

One thing that’s pretty constant: We’re always looking to be surprised, but we’re also looking for poems with a heartbeat, with a light on, with somebody at home in the blood. We’re looking for poems that perform with language, but that also say something, i.e. we're looking for language that does work.

We’ll look forward to reading YOU!
What’s the best way that I can support Forklift, Ohio (and the other journals that I care about)?

First, submit your work. It’s the main reason we do this, and we want the chance to read you. See above.

Second, if you can, obviously purchase copies of the journal (and the Forklift Books books) as they become available. Forklift, Ohio is not a non-profit, but nor is it a for-profit. It is an anti-profit. We happily lose money on every single issue. We are not affiliated with any institution, and we are proudly grant-free (and without a lost time accident!) for the last twenty+ years. We pay for the journal and the various expenses associated with it out of our own pockets, because we love doing it.

Issues are priced to break even, and anything that’s left over after we cover costs (which is never) goes right back into the next issue—or Forklift Books (whichever one needs spare change the most).

We all have day jobs: IT, food service, higher ed, tutoring, mountain climbing, and industrial design. We are not unique in this. Many of the journals you love work on shoestring budgets or no budgets at all, and they need your help in all the ways you can give it. 

The reward we get for doing all of this—and we consider it a great honor—is reading and publishing the work that you send us, in the form of readable objects that we hope people want to hold in their hands, as much as they want to enjoy them for their literary value and delights.

THANK YOU for your interest and support!

The Editors