The Word Works

Type Of Organization
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
We have published over 150 poetry titles since 1975, among which are four specialized imprints: The Washington Prize, the Hilary Tham Capital Collection (open to poets who volunteer to further the cause of literature), The Tenth Gate Prize (for mid-career poets), and International Editions (contemporary poetry translations). We support our poets with generous author and review copies and by encouraging authors to return to us with their subsequent manuscripts. A proud member of CLMP, we launch our new titles each year at AWP. Our Mission Statement: "THE WORD WORKS is a nonprofit literary and educational organization dedicated to the support and perpetuation of contemporary poetry and literature for the cultural enrichment of humankind. It operates without discrimination regarding gender, race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any classification protected by State or Federal discrimination laws. The Word Works carries out its mission through book publication, competitions, special projects, and public programs. Developing audience for poetry is a critical goal in its effort to promote and support outstanding literary work."

Social Media Platforms Used
facebook, instagram, twitter
Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
Primary Editor/Contact Person
Nancy White
Contact Title
Recent Awards Received
Gold and Silver Foreword Indies winners; Silver Independent Book Award; Library of Virginia Literary Award in Poetry; more
Representative Authors
Fred Marchant, Cheryl Clark, Annie Kim
Submissions Policy
We publish full-length poetry books under a range of imprints, and are open to all voices and styles. Each imprint has its own eligibility requirements and selection process, but in general we ask poets to submit a ms online with $25 fee and no identifying information, though acknowledgments may be entered in a comments field that will not be accessible to readers, editors, or judges. We copyright each book in the name of the author, and legal authority over the individual poems (such as permission to reprint a poem in an anthology) revert to the author upon publication. Limited use of larger portions of the book are allowed to the author in other media or in collaborations with other artists.
Accepts Unsolicited Submissions
Simultaneous Submissions Accepted
Reading Period
Varies 01 / 15 - 7 / 15
Reporting Time
04 - 08 months
Author Payments
royalties, cash, copies
The Word Works Washington Prize (since 1979) The Tenth Gate Prize (since 2015)
Number Of Paid Staff
Number Of Unpaid Staff
Year Founded
SPD, Ingram, Baker & Taylor
Number Of Books Published Per Year
Titles In Print
Average Price Per Book
Average Price Per E-Book
Nancy White
How Did You Arrive At Your Current Position?
In 2008 I joined the staff to manage the Washington Prize, was appointed co-editor-in-chief in 2009, and president in 2010. Since then we have increased production by 500% and engaged in a vigorous 10-year diversity plan.
What Is The Staff Structure At Your Magazine/press?
Volunteers serve in a variety of roles, from readers and editors, to reading series organizers, to specialists in design, promotion, and research. The president manages operations and development, also supervising the open reading period.
Do You Have Any Cover Letter Advice?
No cover letters, just a brief bio and acknowledgments list in the "Comments" box visible at the time of submission, online. All reading is "anonymous" for all manuscripts submitted, and bio/acks are not visible until decisions are complete.
How Are Submissions Processed In Your Magazine/press?
Each imprint employs its own method for evaluating submissions. You can read more under "Submissions" at our website.
What Do You Look For In A Submission?
Originality, craft, music, and courage. We look for no one style or school of work; our list contains books that are themed, others not. Some are experimental, others narrative, others lyrical. Some transcend category completely.
What Advice Do You Have For First-time Submitters?
Be the meticulous, wild, brave, deep writer you want to read. Be patient and persistent. Ask your friends with publications what they wish they'd done differently!
Do You Have A Favorite Unsolicited Submission Discovery Or Anecdote?
One of our most successful books had submitted the same manuscript three years running before it even made it to the semi-finalist level. And then it won our biggest prize. This is why we route manuscripts to new readers if they return to try again.
Who Is Your Ideal Reader?
Any person who wants a jolt, a rush, a comfort, a question, a moment of recognition coming in through word, image, music.