Beltway Poetry Quarterly


Call for Entries

Join us for a special issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, the Sterling A. Brown Tribute Issue, to be published in October 2017. Our submissions period is NOW OPEN!

We seek poems written about Brown, for Brown, or poems that address the subjects closest to his heart: music (particularly jazz, blues, work songs, and spirituals), racial identity, and folklore. Sterling Stuckey praised Brown’s ability to find “almost boundless artistic possibilities for exploring the human condition.” Folk poems that come from any tradition would be welcome.

Sterling A. Brown (May 1, 1901 – January 13, 1989) served as the first Poet Laureate of Washington, DC from 1984 to 1989. He authored three books of poems: Southern Road (1932), The Last Ride of Wild Bill (1975), and The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown (published posthumously in 1989, edited by Michael S. Harper). He also co-edited the landmark anthology, The Negro Caravan, in 1941 (with Arthur P. Davis and Ulysses Lee), edited Negro Poetry and Drama (1938) and served as Editor on Negro Affairs for the Federal Writers Project during the Depression.

Brown dedicated his life to education and was born, fittingly, on the campus of Howard University. His father, a former slave, was a prominent minister and professor in the Howard Divinity School. His mother taught in the DC Public Schools for over 50 years. Brown was educated at Dunbar High School in DC, Williams College, and Harvard University. He had early teaching jobs at Virginia Theological Seminary, Lincoln University, and Fisk University, then moved back to DC in 1929 to teach at Howard for the next 40 years, until his retirement in 1969. Renowned as an inspiring teacher, and for developing some of the first college-level African American literature courses, his students included Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Ossie Davis, and Stokely Carmichael.

To read more about Brown, see:

Please submit up to 5 poems in a single Word or Google document, through our online submissions system (below). Poets who live or work in DC, MD, VA, WV or DE are eligible to submit. The editors will consider previously published poems provided they do not appear anywhere else in print online (including blogs and list serves), and copyright has reverted back to the author. All submissions must be received during the month of June. 

Submit Now


Poem Titles:

Attachment (Word or rtf files only):

Please note: we are aware that our system is slow. However, submissions are coming through. There’s no need to submit multiple times! And thank you for letting us see your poems.


Beltway Poetry Quarterly does not accept unsolicited submissions outside our annual Call for Entries. Please join our local subscriber list or “like” our Facebook page to get direct email notifications.

Please note that Beltway Poetry Quarterly only publishes authors with strong ties to the Washington, DC region, and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware.


Poetry News

Authors are invited to provide information about their readings, publications, and other activities for listing in the Poetry News section. Information should be submitted any time in the month prior to an event or publication to Please note that listings of Readings and Performances only include events in the greater Washington DC area, although we cover a larger geographic region for listings of Competitions, Grants, Calls for Entries, Workshops, and Special Events (covering all of DC, MD, VA, WV, and DE).

Forthcoming Issues

Volume 18:3, Spring 2017
Portfolio Issue
Seven featured authors, with a range of poems by each. Featured poets: Dan Brady, Yoonmee Chang, Lawrence Minh-Bui Davis, Tafisha Edwards, Camisha L. Jones, Tanya Paperny, and Francisco Luis White.

Volume 18:4, Fall 2017
Sterling A. Brown Tribute Issue
For this special issue honoring DC’s first Poet Laureate. poets from DC, MD, VA, WV, and DE are invited to send up to 5 poems inspired by the life or poems of Sterling A. Brown, or poems that address some of his primary themes. We will accept submissions in June; poets will be notified of the editors’ decisions by August 2017.

Volume 19:1, Winter 2018
Resurrection Issue, Part II
This issue will bring back into print the poetry of several women formerly based in the DC region who have passed away. This is the second part in a series that honors poets whose work deserves a wider readership, but whose poems can be difficult to find online. Featured poets will include: Natalie Clifford Barney, Gwendolyn Bennett, Anne Lynch Botta, Charlotte Forten Grimke, Leonora Speyer, and Audrey Wurdemann.

Volume 19:2, Spring 2018
Portfolio Issue
Eight DC-area women and non-binary poets will be featured, with a range of poems by each. Featured authors TBA.

Announcement: All issues in 2018 will feature only women and non-binary authors.