Bareknuckle Poet ~ Journal of Letters. (Formerly Retort Magazine) We favour the cutting edge over the blunt of the handle and the avant-garde over backward walking.

Archived by the National Library of Australia our imprint Bareknuckle Books publishes an annual print anthology of writing previously appearing in the journal.

Publishing on a semi-regular itinerary, we welcome submissions all year round.

“For those who protest that most of these thousands of journals can be dismissed as marginal—that we need pay attention to only a handful of “prestigious” ones, like Poetry and The New Yorker-—may I suggest that there could be a few Blakes or Dickinsons swimming with the guppies in that wide prosodic sea? If a truly titanic poet were to appear, wouldn’t one of the less visible but more adventuresome journals—-Retort Magazine, say (“we favor the cutting edge over the blunt of the handle, the avant-garde over backward walking”)—be more likely to be his or her publisher than would status-conscious professional journals like Ploughshares and American Poetry Review?”

– David Alpaugh, The New Math of Poetry, The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education Washington D.C, U.S.A Feb 21, 2010



Poetry is Life, distilled and expressed by people who have a mastery over language akin to that of a classical musician over music. Poetry has a very small audience on planet Earth and mass market publishers are guilty of dissuading readers from its appreciation. Considering this, Bareknuckle Poet believes it can be completely elitist and publish only work that blows our minds when we read it. If you think that all it takes to write a poem is to have an intense experience and then write it down, don't bother submitting. We don't want to hear about some great spiritual revelation or mind-altering insight you've had unless you tell us about all the gore and shit you crawled through (and bad sex you had) while you were starving to get there.

Bareknuckle Poet likes experimentation, the use of constraints, diversion from the norm, transgressional subject matter, distrust of the establishment and literary bad-asses. If you always want a happy ending, go to a massage parlour.
Novel extracts/chapters for possible serialisation. Minimalism over Maximalism, cutting edge over blunt of handle, outsiders over insiders, workers not networkers. Simultaneous submissions of longer works are permitted. (The size limit is only a recommendation - if you believe your longer works can hold the attention of the average netizen, go ahead, send us a Ulysses.)
Creative nonfiction, travel writing, memoir extracts, investigative/gonzo journalism/opinion pieces are welcome. If your submission has a timeframe/deadline for maximum impact please label your submission URGENT and tell us why in the NOTES area of the submission form.

Submissions of Spoken Word, Film and Music are welcome.Obviously this category is for exclusive publication on our website. If you are going to submit a film upload it to youtube and send us the URL as your submission. Music/spoken word should be mp3 and no larger than 10mb if you can help it.

Bareknuckle Poet is interested in research papers, exegetical works, writing about writing, essays on philosophy, critical and cultural theory, literary criticism and research papers/grey literature. The editorial team at The Bareknuckle Poet and our publishing imprint Bareknuckle Books hold postgraduate degrees in literature, poetry, journalism and publishing and are currently forming a peer review board for future scholarly publications under our imprint Bareknuckle Books and online at Bareknuckle Poet ~ Journal of Letters.


The Bareknuckle Poet welcomes submissions for publication of interviews with artists and writers, editorial pieces, op ed pieces, book reviews and reviews in general. We welcome video interviews or text interviews accompanied by relevant photographs or other imagery.