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Welcome to The Skinny Poetry Journal

Committed to the Skinny poetry form--mostly.

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Rules of the Form

The "Skinny” is a short poem form that consists of eleven lines. The first and eleventh lines can be any length (although shorter lines are favored). The eleventh (last line) must be repeated using the same words from the first and opening line (however, they can be rearranged). The second, sixth, and tenth lines must be identical. All the lines in this form, except for the first and last lines, must be comprised of ONLY one word. The Skinny was created by Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University (© 2005).

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General Submissions

The Skinny Poetry Journal (TSPJ) is a literary journal that is dedicated to “The Skinny” poetry form, book news, and book reviews. TSPJ is based in Washington, D.C., and edited by Truth Thomas (in concert with a team of other D.C.-based poets).  Poems can be submitted for publishing consideration by emailing them to copied into the body of your email. Please read the poetry published in TSPJ before you submit. We accept simultaneous submissions and the doors to our submission church never close.

The point of The Skinny, or Skinnys, is to convey a vivid image with as few words as possible. Skinny poems can be about any subject, although the form generally reflects more serious concerns facing humankind. Also, Skinnys can be linked, much like Haiku, Senryu or Tanka. (Note: As a matter of aesthetics, the plural form of The Skinny should be “Skinnys.”)

Our editors are looking for poems that have layers of depth, vivid imagery, freshness, and the accent of authenticity on every lyric line. We are open to light verse, but prefer poetry that is brave enough to engage more difficult issues of the day.  Our editorial hope is "hope" itself -- that all the work we publish will ultimately serve a positive, transformative, purpose in the world.

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Truth Thomas

Founding Editor/Editor-in-Chief

(Photo/Melanie Henderson © 2024)

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