Bareknuckle Poet  


Bareknuckle Poet ~ Journal of Letters ISSN 2204 – 0420.

(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

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All works published by Bareknuckle Poet are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Submit visual works here.

  1. graphic poetry (.jpg, .png, .gif, etc)
  2. Spoken word (video - please upload your film to youtube or vimeo and submit the URL *don't attach your raw file)
  3. Instagram poems (we'll embed if your profile is public so submit the URLs of your works)

Please submit no more than five of your best previously unpublished poems. You will receive a reply, but please be patient. We receive large numbers of poems for consideration. Simultaneous submissions are fine but please inform us if your poem/poems are published elsewhere before you hear from us.

If your poetry is visual, please submit under the Visual Poetry category.

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. We consider short works up to 5000 words. 
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 book review process is tedious.

  1. The journal receives books from authors/publicists/publishers/everyone one else involved.
  2. Conflict of interest is discounted because there is no guarantee the publication will be reviewed favourably.
  3. The journal has a stack of boxes of books waiting to be reviewed.
  4. The journal publishes a list of books hoping an interested party will peruse the list and find one they like.
  5. The journal gets robbed by Australia Post.
  6. Eventually the review arrives, often months, if not a year, after the book was published.
  7. This is of little use to the author who has an entirely new book now, or to the journal who has content that is essentially a year out of date.

Bareknuckle Poet is trying something different. We want reviews of what is accessible, now, online. Most authors/poets are very busy promoting/publishing their work on the internet, either aiming to attract the attention of agents/publishers or to promote a newly published book. We figure paying some extra attention to their work in real time can only be beneficial to both of these aims, even if the press is bad. 

Bad press is a myth, remember.

We will begin with the following:

Poetry:  PROFILE THE POET and then review their works online, either in other journals or the authors blog/website (yes, instagram poets are acceptable) Include references (not necessarily academic) to where you read the work in the form of URLs.

Spoken WordPROFILE THE POET and then review videos that contain a vocal track of the poet performing/reading their own work (youtube, vimeo, etc. Audio only is passe; if it's an original vocal recording by yourself make it into a video with at least moving images of the author or their words) Please include with the text review a url to the video so we may embed

Constraint: Max words - 1000

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We also welcome interviews, editorial pieces, op-eds, book reviews and reviews in general. 

Video interviews or text interview submissions shoud be accompanied by relevant photographs or other imagery.

Bareknuckle Poet Journal of Letters