The Fourth River

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For all our submissions, themed or otherwise, we welcome especially work by writers who are part of marginalized groups: immigrant and indigenous writers; writers of color; women, non-binary, LGBQA and trans writers; writers with disabilities both visible and invisible.



Climate refugees. Environmental migrants. Diasporic communities. Subduction zones and fault lines. Shifting matter. Unconscious substitutions of the (ir)rational mind. Bodies in incarceration, internment and detainment.

The Fourth River’s 15th print issue, due out in Spring, 2018, will explore notions of displacement.

What does it mean to move or be moved from a physical, spiritual or emotional place or position? What are the natural, social and scientific forces that act upon bodies, spaces and communities?

For this special themed issue, we are seeking fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art that highlights the experience of displacement: the causes, processes and effects of leaving, escaping or being forced from natural and/or human-made worlds. We are interested in a broad definition of this term.

Send us your best work!


General Guidelines

Submission Periods

Fall Online Issue: November 1-January 1

Spring Print Issue: July 1-September 1

Tributaries Web Series: rolling (Note: we will sometimes close this category to get caught up. Please check back!)


The Fourth River welcomes submissions that explore the relationship between humans and their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are looking for writing that is richly situated at the confluence of place, space and identity—or that reflects upon or makes use of landscape and place in new ways.

Recent authors we’ve published include Barbara Hurd, Susan Cohen, Nate Pritts, and BK Loren.  Contributors to The Fourth River have received Pushcart Prizes, NEA Fellowships, and The Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The Fourth River’s contributors have been published in Glimmer Train, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Travel Writing.

The Fourth River accepts unpublished poetry, literary short fiction,  creative nonfiction and visual art through our Submittable page ONLY. Emailed submissions will not be read and mailed submissions will be recycled.

Click here to submit. Payment for all accepted pieces is one copy of the journal. Accepted authors also get a discount on additional copies.



Rolling, burbling, churning along, tributaries lead us to the river. These winding origins are sometimes small, but often powerful. Tributaries refresh us, urge us forward, guide us through the trees.

The Fourth River’s new weekly online publication, “Tributaries,” showcases the brief and the inspiring, that which sustains us and takes us through unexpected courses. Each week we will feature one piece on the home page of the web site.

Click to submit to Tributaries

*Please submit nature/place-based work in the form of:

-no more than (500) words of prose

-one poem

-one piece of visual artwork


To Order Back Issues

Individual issues (year-long subscriptions) of The Fourth River cost $10, and two issues (two-year subscriptions) cost $16.

Our most recent available issue is Issue 11, and back issues are available for $5 each.

To purchase copies or to subscribe to The Fourth River, visit our Submittable page here.


Contact Us

For more information, contact us at 4thriver[at]gmail[dot]com.

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