Issue Two || Summer

We’re looking for work that acts like a fist through drywall. The ferocious, the silent, the shocking, the quotidian, the confused. Send us the pieces you've labored over, the ones that you come back to and think, I’ve been here. At the foremost, when a piece resonates with its creator, it has done its job. Show us what has fossilized within you.

A Note From the Editors

Welcome to the inaugural submissions for Trace Fossils Review!

To start, the type of material we crave here is difficult. Difficult to comprehend, difficult to put on paper, & difficult to submit. This review was created first & foremost as a refuge for the work that feels hard as stone, that leaves us possessed.

Because this is the genre we cherish most, our promise to you is that we will treat your thoughts as we treat an old house: tenderly, with open ears & the knowledge that it will never be truly ours. Thank you for honoring us with your pieces. For trusting us to foster something resonant inside these walls.

We look forward to experiencing your work.

Warmest thanks,

Jessie & Elliott Kate


We are currently OPEN to TIP JAR submissions via our Submittable.

We host four submission periods for our quarterly publication:

  • Summer: March-April

  • Fall: June-July

  • Winter: September-October

  • Spring: December-January

Tip Jar Submissions lie outside regular submission windows. Submissions close on May 31st at 11:59pm.

We publish five genres: poetry, prose, nonfiction, art/multimedia and hybrid. If you're confused on which category your piece falls into, here are some clarifications:

  • Prose: Flash fiction, short stories, micro fiction, etcetera

  • Nonfiction: Personal essays, journalism, memoirs, critical essays and the like.

  • Hybrid: Hybrid of form: Lyric essays, multimedia essays, pieces with both poetry and prose. ATTENTION: If your hybrid piece identifies overwhelmingly with another category (ex. a prose poem), submit it under that category and not hybrid. If you're questioning whether your work falls under hybrid, contact us via email.

General genre guidelines per reading period:

  • Poetry: Up to 3 pieces per period. No longer than 132 lines in length (a total three pages in our print issues).

  • Prose: For short stories and flash fiction, we ask for one piece at a time. Maximum of 4,000 words (roughly 15 pages). For anything shorter than 300 words, we max out at three submissions per period.

  • Nonfiction: One piece per reading period. Maximum of 4,000 words.

  • Art/Multimedia: Up to 3 pieces per submission period.

  • Hybrid: One piece per period. Maximum of 15 pages.

Submit all prose and poetry in Times New Roman, 12pt font. Poetry single spaced, prose double spaced. We accept .docx and .word files. For photography and multimedia, TIFF, JPEG and EPS work best for us, with an image quality of at least 300 ppi. Please include all submissions in ONE FILE.

Please make sure that your name does not appear anywhere within your doc. It ruins the fun of anonymity.

We pride ourselves on publishing upcoming authors. Feel free to mention past experience within your cover letter, but that was, well, past. We are interested in the now. Reinvent.

We encourage simultaneous submissions. You’re welcome to have your piece running in multiple tabs; just keep us updated if you are accepted anywhere else.

Most decisions are made within sixteen weeks of submission. We will read the piece when we can dedicate the most time to it. Our masthead is composed of students, so if we are not turning over your pieces, trust that we are writing our own beside you.

We ask for First Serial Rights for all pieces. All rights revert back to the creator after six months—within that period, monogamy is a big thumbs up for us. Since we only publish unpublished work, it’s super important to us that you tell everyone about your first time. We reserve the right to republish the piece or include it in any anthologies, as well as to display it in our archives.

Unfortunately, because we are broke, we are not a paying market. We print a yearly anthology; all who are accepted into our print publication will receive one contributor copy.

We are strong believers that writers support writers. All submissions are free. Feel free to check out the donation link at the bottom of our website.

Do not expect heavy edits from our team. We trust that you send your best work. Plus, if we have major changes, it’s probably not right for us anyway.

In case you skimmed through the rest, we only accept unpublished work. We crave your freshest thoughts.

If you believe your work may be sensitive to some readers, include a trigger warning inside your cover letter.

This review holds no tolerance for bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, and prejudice of the like. Any pieces that preach that gospel will be immediately turned away, and the author will be barred from future submissions.

Check out our submissions page if questions arise, or email us at