Kosmos Call for Essays and Other Works
Our Shared Spiritual Commons 

Commons are shared resources on Earth (and in outer space) that no one ‘owns’. For most of our time as a species, these included land, water, forests and minerals. In recent centuries our commons have gradually been privatized, commoditized, and our access to them eroded. How the remaining commons are used and managed reflects their social significance. For example – a well-loved hiking trail through the mountains may be mapped, groomed and communicated about by hikers to preserve its value. Our global commons include the Earth’s atmosphere, areas of the oceans, the radio spectrum, the internet, genetic data, and more – at least for now.

But what about what Jeremy Lent calls Earth’s animate intelligence –  the patterns and processes of Life that contribute to flourishing and regeneration? What about shared wisdom and our capacity for insight and awareness, our ability to imagine and create? Are these also a kind of commons?

In the Fall edition of Kosmos, we examine and reimagine these less tangible resources as a spiritual commons and consider their implications for our time. What is something you hold in common with others and value deeply? This might include ancestral knowledge, traditions, a spiritual practice or community. Are our spiritual commons scarce or abundant?  

In Regaining Our Spiritual Commons, essayist Mark Vernon writes:

The appreciation of what’s good, beautiful and true should be added to the list, as well as the freedom to orientate one’s life around them. This also implies that love lives in this domain.

Share your ideas. We invite you to submit an essay up to 1000 words, a poem, or other artwork, in response to any of these prompts or what the theme means to you. We will choose several works to publish in our Quarterly and on our website.

Deadline: August 20, 2021

For all essays, please use the submission form, below. NOTE: It is only possible to upload one document per submission.

For poetry, see the specific guidelines below.

For all other media and artist inquiries, contact info@kosmosjournal.org directly, with the subject line: ‘Submission Inquiry’.

General Guidelines for all Works

We strongly advise you to become acquainted with Kosmos Quarterly before you submit something. Editorial preference is given to present or past Members. Memberships are available starting at $0.

Please submit all works as Word documents with a file name “Full Name_Title,” and include your email address in the header of the document.

Do not send us your first draft. As Robert Graves contends, “There is no such thing as good writing. Only good rewriting.” Always send your best version.

Be sure to proof your work before you hit “Send.” Punctuation, spelling, and grammar are all important elements of a written work.

We accept simultaneous submissions, but please inform us if your work is accepted elsewhere. We will be happy for your success.

If your work is accepted by Kosmos, you agree to grant us the right to publish in the Quarterly and its derivative works, as well as Electronic Archival Rights. At publication, all rights revert back to you. If your work subsequently appears in print or online, you agree to give credit to Kosmos Quarterly. We agree to contact you for permission to reprint your work.

Upon acceptance, we’ll ask you for a brief bio (50 -100 words) and a JPEG photo to accompany your work.

Check our website and newsletter for updated themes and deadlines. We will make every effort to respond within one month after a deadline. If you haven’t heard from us by then, feel free to contact us.

We are not a paying publication at this time, but we are pleased to welcome you to the Kosmos family, with the guarantee your work will be read and appreciated by an international audience.

Poetry Submission Guidelines 

Kosmos Quarterly is looking for thoughtful, well-crafted poems that will inspire and delight our readership. We tend not to accept inspirational verse or rhyming poetry unless the latter is done artistically (See Frost’s “After Apple-Picking” for what we mean by “artistic.”)

On occasion, we solicit poems we love, but all unsolicited pieces must be previously unpublished. By “unpublished” we mean either in print or online formats, not including your personal website or blog.

We are now publishing poetry not only in our quarterly journal, but in the newsletters between each issue. Take a look at our seasonal Gallery of Poets and our Featured Poet in past newsletters to see the types of poetry we prefer.

Please send 1-3 single-spaced poems per issue in a single Word document (doc or docx). Please use Times Roman, 12-pt. and left justify poems with a one-inch margin. Format the file name as “Your Full Name and Title” of the first poem. Include your email address in the header of the document. Limit each poem to a maximum of 50 lines. Start each poem on a new page.

Kosmos Quarterly acquires first North American serial, electronic, and archival rights. All rights then revert to the author after publication. Please acknowledge Kosmos in any subsequent printing of your work.


Do not send us a biography until we request one upon acceptance. We want to read your submission based on its own merits, not past accomplishments. However, in your email please tell us in a sentence or two how your piece(s) supports our current theme. When we make decisions, we consider the best and most creative approaches to that theme.

Once your poetry appears in Kosmos Quarterly, please skip at least one issue before submitting again.

Thank you for entrusting your work to us. We will read it with gratitude and respect.

Greetings from Carolyn Martin, Poetry Editor

Before you submit to Kosmos Quarterly – or to any journal – here is some writerly advice gathered from decades of experience:

Ask accomplished poets who are conversant with the art and craft of poetry to critique your poems. Friends may be complimentary, but they may not understand what makes a good poem. Kosmos receives many lovely poems that are deeply heartfelt, but are filled with abstractions and generalities that don’t work in poetry. Poetry uses compelling, compact language filled with images, rhythms, and sounds that surprise the reader by showing rather than explaining. Surprise me with work that is fresh and well-crafted.

Read, read, read accessible contemporary poets like Billy Collins, Ellen Bass, and Mary Oliver. Read them not only for enjoyment, but for insights into how they craft their poems. Ask yourself, “How does this poet get from a poem’s beginning to its end? How do they use images to express emotion? How to they shape their poems on the page? How effective are the rhythms and sounds of each line and stanza? As the renown dancer Martha Graham reminds us, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us get to work.” Good poets get inspired and then they get to work on crafting their poems.

Pay attention to our guidelines and follow them carefully. It does not make a good first impression when guidelines are overlooked. 

Every publication and poetry editor has an aesthetic bias whether they admit it or not. So please don’t be offended if Kosmos says it is not the right home for your work. I’ve been submitting poetry for years and have learned that what doesn’t fit one publication is perfect for another. It’s all about making sure you are sending your best work and finding a home that will embrace it.

If you’re not collecting rejections, you’re not doing the work of a poet: sending your work out into the world. I’ve challenged myself to “earn” 100 rejections every year. I made it to 87 last year!

Happy submitting – and we are honored that you entrust your work to the Kosmos Quarterly.


For all essays, please use the submission form, below. NOTE: It is only possible to upload one document per submission.

For all other media and artist inquiries, contact info@kosmosjournal.org directly, with the subject line: Submission Inquiry.

Submit A Work