Claws and Effects: Submissions Guidelines



Please be aware that issues 1-28 can be found in the archives of our old site at All issues from 29 on are housed here.

Clockwise Cat is a progressive literary webzine appearing seasonally that features verse, reviews, and invective (polemics and satire). Please read further in order to ascertain just what we seek in terms of submissions.

(Yes, we are aware the guidelines are long-winded – the editor is a loquacious narcissist – but just do your freaking homework and quit yer bitch-fest, you whiny, over-coddled brat! After all, Clockwise Cat is prime realty in the World O’ Webzines, and to be published here is analogous to owning gorgeous beachfront property (um, yeah). )

Without further ado (or adon’t), we present the submission guidelines, or, as we like to call them, The Motherfucking Roadmap to Possible Publication in Clockwise Cat:

Rule #1: Please read the Editorial Manifesto, located in the menu options, for a rad narrative as to why, exactly, we exist.

Rule #2: Please peruse previous issues to get an idea as to what Clockwise Cat is looking for content-wise, and style-wise. Be aware that most previous issues can be found at

Rule #3: Please adhere to the following guidelines. Failure to do so will earn you a cyber-spanking, plus DISQUALIFICATION FROM CONSIDERATION.*

Brutal banishment from the universe will also be contemplated if your guideline violations are particularly egregious. (We do realize, of course, that you may perversely revel in spankings, cyber-wise and otherwise, in which case we must banish you from the universe for being such a kinky creep. On the other hand, we kind of revel in a little spanky-panky ourselves, so alternate punishment may apply – or not…)

*We are SERIOUS about this. Too many people are violating the guidelines lately, and we have lost all tolerance for carelessness. Your submission will be deleted, with GLEE, if you fail to follow what we consider pretty straightforward guidelines. And no, we DON’T care how many Pulitzers you’ve won – JUST READ THE GODDAMN GUIDELINES, YOU LAZY FREAK.


Clockwise Cat prefers to publish poetry that is in some way akin to the Symbolist, Dadaist, Surrealist, Beat, spoken word, experimental, avant-garde genres. In other words, we will regard all well-crafted submissions that somehow flout conventions. We like imagery-intense writing that features wild and wacky wordplay, jolting juxtapositions, crafty cadences, dense layers of savory symbolism, stream-of-consciousness spewings, audacious allegory, mad hatter rantings … verse that lunges off the page and throttles the throat of everything samey and mundane. Verse that zooms and zazzles, sizzles and zizzles. Verse that is vivid, vivacious, and vicious (like Sid ) … verse that subverts the drab universe into a funky omniverse …

In other words, if your poem is in any way “academic” in style, it better damn well be imaginatively academic – and of course, that’s a rather oxymoronic qualification. But, of course, anything is possible, so don’t be shy if you think your piece fits the style and purview of the magazine. Indeed, we have published many academics whose pieces may have veered toward traditional language at times – but there was always SOMETHING, however nuanced, in those pieces that spoke sassily to the tyrannical authoritarians of linguistic convention, so just be aware of this.

Quantity and length: Please submit no more than TWO (DOS, DEUX, ZWEI) poems of reasonable length. (What is considered reasonable length? That’s for me to decide on a whim, as it depends entirely on my mood and amount of sleep the night before.)


When submitting book, music, and movie reviews, be reminded that we prefer reviews of books and films that are progressive in theme or in style and of music that is forward-looking rather than that which uninspiringly retreads past styles. Again, use your best judgment in this regard, for we’ll certainly use ours. We also heartily solicit reviews of chapbooks and books released by small independent presses. Please note, however, that your review does NOT have to be about a recently released book, movie, or CD. Your may review something that was released years, or even decades, or even centuries, ago. Hey, perhaps you’d like to review scribblings and pictographs on cave walls, embracing them as the nascent form of the novel? GO FER IT.

Reviews of books, movies and music that you read/saw/heard in the future when you time-traveled/hallucinated last week are not acceptable, however, although we may change our mind on this. (Since you are a diviner of future happenings, you can let us know if we actually do bend our policy on this.)

Quantity and length: Please submit up to TWO reviews of no more than around 1,500 words.



Clockwise Cat is brashly, unabashedly progressive. We don’t hew to hierarchies and we are authoritarian-ly anti-authoritarian. Therefore, political rants and polemics MUST be progressive in spirit. Obviously the term “progressive” is subject to ambiguous interpretation, and we certainly don’t want to dissuade disparate viewpoints. Just use your best judgment and we’ll use ours.

Typically, we like rants that are anti-imperialistic in flavor, and of course they must be well-written and not require extensive editing. And please, SAY something of substance – don’t just whine and snivel like the spoiled American brat that you are. (You might be a brat of a different nationality, of course, which is entirely acceptable. We are not xenophobic freaks and have published rants about corrupt governments around the world. Tyranny knows no bounds, though boundaries do know tyranny (huh?) )

Also, while the magazine bluntly espouses progressive viewpoints, Clockwise Cat demands that your submitted pieces not be mere ideological liberal claptrap; if you disagree with a typical “lefty” viewpoint, say so. Don’t just blindly follow for fear of betraying your fellow reeking, whoring, pot-toking brothers and sisters. Be a critical thinker for once in your pathetic, welfare-mooching existence.

Also, as progressive as we are, we really don’t like political correctness. Perhaps we are unconscious practitioners of it from time to time, but we try to avoid the pernicious pitfalls of political correctness as much as we can. So please, refrain from submitting rants that sound like the Language Police took a taser to it in order to shock out all of the bits that might offend Ukranian Wiccans. We love people of all shapes and orientations (we even love those who were born without detached ear lobes – that’s how tolerant we are!)  but at the same time, we can’t be bothered to be too stiff and stuffy. Naturally bigotry has no place, but that doesn’t mean you have to religiously use ludicrous terms like cisgender, either (there I go, offending someone!).

We still like to have fun, ya dig?

Quantity and length: Please submit up to TWO polemics of no more than around 1,500 words.


Clockwise Cat believes that satire is the most elevated form of art and political dissent. To that end, the Cat eagerly encourages you to submit your searing satirical pieces. Put that Swiftian wit and Voltairian venom to pointed purpose. Some of the luscious lampoonery that Clockwise Cat relishes includes just about anything by Vonnegut, Voltaire’s “Candide,” Swift’s “Modest Proposal,” Twain’s “The Damned Human Race,” Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” the TV show “The Simpsons,” the movies “Borat,” “Office Space,” and “Idiocracy,” and the political cartoon, “This Modern World.”

(Yes, we said “Borat.” Deal the fuck with it.)

Quantity and length: Please submit up to TWO pieces of POLITICAL satire of no more than around 1,500 words.


Yes, we are NOW, ONCE AGAIN, accepting submissions of VISUAL ART. PRAISE THE LORD THAT DOESN’T EXIST.

What do we seek in art? Why, we seek the audacious, the edgy, the crazy-unique. We like kooky, colorful, flamboyantly expressive creations. We like the surreal, the symbolic, the abstract, the dark and disturbing, the nihilistic and hedonistic and fantastic and elastic and ecstatic.

Some of our favorite artists are Miro, Basquiat, Kahlo, Wojnarowicz, Bosch. But we like lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of different artists, both famous and obscure. We appreciate the vociferously freaky as well as the quietly twisted. We also love us some hardcore graffiti, BITCHES! Recently, too, we are REALLY into the shamefully underappreciated female Dadaists, like Toyen and Hoch.

We love photography, too, but it’s gotta have some sort of edge to it for us to consider it.

If accepted, your art piece(s) will either be used to embellish one or more of the poems we publish, or it will get its own page. We will also publish your bio.

Quantity: Send up to five images. 


Please submit a brief THIRD-PERSON biography of yourself as well. The bio can include previous publication information, links to your website, and any other interesting tidbits you’d like us to know.

Please, NO (as in NO!) simultaneous submissions of poetry. Simultaneous submissions of reviews, polemics and satire are fine; just let us know of the fact.

Previously published poetry IS accepted, however; just let us know where your piece originally appeared so we can attribute it. This is the case for reviews, polemics and satire as well.

Multiple submissions (submissions in different genres) ARE acceptable, and in fact, FUN!

Please note that we do NOT accept revised versions of your work once it is accepted. We are not a writing workshop; we are a magazine! DUH!

(Oh, and a cover letter is always nice. It doesn’t have to be long (in fact we prefer it not to be – just cuz I ramble into infinity does not mean you have the license to emulate me), but I find it ODD and RUDE when people submit writing without at least introducing themselves. I mean, would you walk into the office of someone you don’t know and just start blabbing, or would you perhaps introduce yourself first? Exactly. (Or, hey – maybe you wouldn’t introduce yourself, in which case, what the fuck is your problem?) )

(Also: We will NOT be honoring requests to remove a piece at a later date. We will only honor requests for name changes – say, your real name to a pseudonym. So, be forewarned of this. If you think you might not get a future job offer because of the profane piece you published here at Clockwise Cat two years ago, well, then maybe you should be using a pseudonym to begin with, you sick pervert. Also, we will only honor the request to change your name ONCE. If you want to change it BACK to your real name because suddenly you grew balls/ovaries and don’t care whether you get that joke of a generic job in that corporate low-wage hellhole, that’s tough she-ite. Ain’t nobody got time for vacillations.)

(Oh, and if you are a rude, sexist asshole to me, you will be deleted, on the spot, no further discussion, nice knowin’ ya (not really), and don’t let the Iron Doors of Doom slam your flabby ass on the way out, you misogynist prick. And if you are a rude bitch, same goes. In fact, if you are rude to an EDITOR, SOMEONE WHO IS PUBLISHING YOUR WORK, then you don’t really deserve to be called a writer, so go find another hobby, or better yet, another planet. Thanks in advance. (And yes, we have experienced sexist scenarios and downright dastardly behavior.) )

Please send all submissions to Publisher/Editor Alison Ross at Please paste your submissions into the body of your e-mail OR attach it to a MS Word Document. Write “Submission – Genre” in your subject line. (Note that this doesn’t mean you actually write “Submission – Genre” in the e-mail subject line, but that you SPECIFY the actual genre – i.e., poetry, review, polemic, satire. As an example, for a poetry submission, write “Submission – POETRY” – but without the quotation marks.

(We didn’t think we’d have to explain this part of the guidelines in such excruciating detail, but trust me – we do. Peeps is dumb. Yup.)

We will try to respond to everyone within to two to three weeks, usually sooner. Please be patient. We do intend to respond to everyone, regardless of acceptance. We’re of the mindset that EVERYONE deserves a response within a REASONABLE amount of time. IF YOU DON’T HEAR FROM US WITHIN FOUR WEEKS, PLEASE INQUIRE AGAIN.

If we DO reject you, then you can consider it the Worst Thing that has ever happened to you. KIDDING. But seriously, if we do reject you, it could be due to any number of reasons (mainly, we hated your work. Again, KIDDING.). But seriously part two: I wouldn’t take rejection personally, as you may end up placing your piece with a better publication, in which case, you have my permission to flip me off on Instagram and publicly shame me on Facebook. (I don’t even have an Instagram and if you shame me on Facebook, I’ll shame you right back, loser).

We do not comment on the quality of the pieces we reject, because, frankly, it’s so DAMN subjective, this writing thang, and again  – you may place your piece elsewhere in a much cooler magazine, though we doubt it, cuz we’re the best in the history of EVER.

Obviously, we are not a paying market, but the psychological rewards are nonetheless manifold. (That is, Clockwise Cat kicks ass, and you’re lucky to be published here. (Okay, not really.) (Okay, yes, really.) (Hubris RULES!)

Writer/Editor Jim Harrington interviewed webzine editors about their submission guidelines. Here is my interview, which may give you some insights into my editing and publishing process:

Six Questions for Alison Ross

Editor Laura Roberts at Black Heart Magazine also interviewed me, which may give you further insight into Clocky Kitty:

An Interview with Clockwise Cat Editor Alison Ross

Legal Notification:

Upon publication in Clockwise Cat, all rights revert to the author. However, Clockwise Cat reserves the right to archive the submitted material online. Clockwise Cat also reserves the right to publish your submitted material in any anthology versions of the magazine, should they ever materialize, which is highly unlikely at this point, but nonetheless a possibility, cuz we love to dream.

We're All Mad


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