Plum Tree Tavern invites original and previously unpublished poetry of green witness and red protest.  Climate change and social and economic repression are inextricably linked. The crowd denying or preventing effective responses to global warming is the same crowd repressing equality within society. 

For the green witness and ecopoetic half of the equation, Plum Tree seeks work focusing on specific images of physical nature.  Work that focuses on the image in nature as it exists is greatly preferred over the writer’s judgments of the image.

The term “red protest” is deliberately used here to call for poetical works of leftist resistance.  The tavern is not looking for wishy washy give peace a chance plea bargains but for work with a sharper edge.  But manifesto, diatribe and polemic without poetical structure or elements isn’t the ticket either.

Writing about a specific image in physical nature or a political subject is different than writing about your thoughts about an image in physical nature or a political subject.  Bite, depth and specificity are required in either instance.  Specificity means specificity.  If the poem speaks of trees, name the type.  Of birds, the species.  Of a place, the name.  Of an event, the event.

Work up to 40 lines sounds about right.  And yes, the editor knows that some of you will wonder if you could slip in a couple extra. You know who are you are.  With apology to all the mathematicians in the audience, the editor doesn't really count lines.  But don't tell anybody.

One submission per month sounds about right.  And yes, the editor knows that some of you will wonder if you could shave a day or two off on the turning of the moon. You know who are you are. With apology to all the horologists in the audience, the editor doesn't really count days.  Speaking of the calendar, please submit seasonal work: in season.

Work that focuses on the image in nature as it exists is greatly preferred over the writer’s judgments of the image. The river makes its own sounds.  So does the mountain.  Don't interrupt.

The editor considers that the personification of nature trivializes nature, and the editor has no taste for personification.

The tavern considers that the placement of the ego above the eco in a poem represents the same arrogance that allows the pipeline to be built across the tundra.  The editor therefore particularly cautions the writer to carefully consider the placement of the ego into work.  Once the writer injects his or herself into the picture, the poem often becomes more about the image of the writer than about the image of nature.  While leaving out the I is encouraged, the editor acknowledges that sometimes the I works just fine.  A rule of thumb:  one I or its equivalent might work; two place the work on thin ice; and there is a baseball saying about three.  There is also a saying about the umpire.

For the royalty in the audience, the rule of thumb invoked in the preceding paragraph also applies to the use of the word 'we' in works submitted here.  For the ventriloquists in the audience, it also applies to the use of the word 'you'.

Suburban landscapes and scenes from the house and the garden and the yard are not wanted.  Don't send poems about the happenings at the bird feeder.   Don't send poems about the squirrels in the neighborhood.   Don't send poems about raking the leaves. 

Don't bother with works of dewy sentimentality about how pretty the flowers are.  The planet is being ruined.

Don’t bother with give peace a chance homilies.  Weaponize.

Send one to three works in the body of an email to: plumtreetavern  (at) gmail (dot)  com.

Please single space all submissions.

Except by prior arrangement, word attachments will be returned unread.

Works posted into Comments sections will not be considered for publication and will be deleted.

Submitting authors may expect a timely response from the editor of Plum Tree Tavern.


Nature photography is always welcome, especially landscapes, river images, coasts and forests. Images may be placed within the Tavern's own pages or an associated gallery.

Photography in support of social justice can also be submitted.

Jpegs please, around a meg.

Up to four images per submission.

Please note that with all the wild beauty in the world, photographs of gardens and other arranged scenery will generally not be accepted.


Haiku and related classical Japanese forms are warmly welcomed.  Bear in mind to submit seasonal work in season.  All work should be generated from personal observation or personal experience of the natural world.  Derivative or imaginative works, abstract thoughts, philosophical conclusions, and constructions not grounded in nature offend the Tavern’s sensibilities.  With continued apology to all the mathematicians in the audience, the editor does not count syllables either.  Go figure.

Please see the separate guidelines for haiku.


The editor requests that the following be checked at the door:

Poems of self-reflection.

References to poetry or about writing specifically or in general; or poems including mention of, or allusion to, the same.

Dreams and variants thereof, or reference to the same.  Don’t even mention the word.

Pithy thoughts, aphorisms and greeting card messages.

Sermons.  Especially sermons.

For work that ends with a question, come back later with the answer.  The poet's job is to discover a truth, not to use the cliched gimmick of avoiding the task.  Same goes for the use of 'or' when opining on possible suitable images or actions.  Just pick one.  

Simultaneous submissions are discouraged.  So are previously published works.

The philosophy department is down the hall and to the right.

The lecture hall is to the left.

No cats.

No squirrels.


Exceptions to stated policies may be made at the discretion of the editor, or by the generosity of the same: or by oversight, deliberate or otherwise.

Acceptance grants Plum Tree Tavern rights including: first-time electronic publication; retention of published work in the archives of Plum Tree Tavern on a non-exclusive basis; and permission for Plum Tree Tavern to select certain works published in this space for inclusion in annual, "best of" or similar electronic or print anthologies or highlight issues.  All other rights revert immediately to the author upon publication.

Plum Tree Tavern is a nonpaying publication.


This is a bar.  Repeat customers are encouraged.

Thank you for your patronage.

Prices subject to change according to customer's attitude.

Drink up.


Jo Balistreri said...

Thank you for being so direct. I agree to all your comments.

Unknown said...

Eureka! There's someone ALIVE at the controls in here! And wild with a level of plain humanity that has fled from most literary publications.

The Plum Tree Tavern said...

Submissions and correspondence may be sent to plumtreetavern (at) gmail (dot) com. Works posted into Comments sections will not be considered for publication.

Amanda said...

These are the best guidelines I have ever read.

That's all

Unknown said...

Looking for different web sites....came across this one. I do not do poetry....however; I am leaving a post....because I love your web site and these are the best guidelines I have every read. …..

Noel Canin said...

You guys are great, thank you for every word in your guidelines. Be safe.

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