BAX 2016 Submit Here

72-hour extension, new deadline: MIDNIGHT 11/18. 

2016 Guest Editors


author photo of Bernstein

Charles Bernstein is author of Recalculating (University of Chicago Press, 2013), Attack of the Difficult PoemsEssays and Inventions (Chicago, 2011), and All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-director of PennSound <>.  
More info at

Tracie Morris Photo

Tracie Morris is a poet who has worked extensively as a page-based writer, sound poet, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and multimedia performer. Her most recent poetry collection, Rhyme Scheme, (Zasterle Press, 2012) includes a sound poetry CD. She is also the author of Intermission (Soft Skull Press, 1998) Her next book, handholding: 5 kinds will be coming out in 2015 from Kore Press. Tracie is Professor and Coordinator of Performance + Performance Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

Series Editors



SETH ABRAMSON is an assistant professor of English at University of New Hampshire and the author of five books, including DATA (BookThug, forthcoming 2016), Metamericana (BlazeVOX, 2015), and Thievery, winner of the 2012 Akron Poetry Prize from University of Akron Press.

JESSE DAMIANI was the 2013-2014 Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Fulbright Commission. He runs a film and television review series for The Huffington Post and is a contributing writer for Indiewire. He lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a motion picture and entertainment copywriter.  

What is the Best American Experimental Writing Anthology ("BAX")?

The Best American Experimental Writing anthology ("BAX" for short) 2016 is the third volume of the critically acclaimed annual literary anthology compiling the best experimental writing in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. This year's volume, with guest editors Charles Bernstein and Tracie Morris, will be currated using both content chosen by the series editors, guest editors, and content submitted through our submission process (described below). 

How does the submission process work?

The guest editor chooses 60% of the content; the series editors, 20% of the content, and at least 20% of the content is chosen from submissions received via the submission process described below. We say "at least 20%" because some of the writing chosen by the guest editor and series editors may include submissions we receive via the submission process described below.

General Guidelines for Submissions

  • Only online submissions are accepted; entries must be received via our Wesleyan online Submittable web page between September 1, 2015 and November 15, 2015 (new, exteded deadline). This is a two-month open reading period for all writers, with no limitations on the amount or type of writing a writer has published previously. A minimum of 20% of the selections for each edition of Best American Experimental Writing will be made by the series editors, with the assistance of the guest editor, from unsolicited submissions received during this open reading period via Wesleyan's Submittable web page.
  • Please do not include any acknowledgments with your submission, or any identifying information on or in the submitted pieces themselves (for instance, do not include a cover letter, letterhead, header, footer, or literary biography). All unsolicited submissions from Wesleyan's Submittable web page are read blindly by the guest editor, series editors, and a small number of preliminary readers.
  • The cost for submission is $9 for three pieces of writing or nine pages (whichever is fewer). Multiple submissions during this two-month reading period are both permitted and encouraged; however, a separate reading fee will be required for each 3 pieces of writing or 9-page submission.
  • The pieces of writing may have been previously published in literary magazines, anthologies, or single-author collections, though this is by no means required. Likewise, pieces of writing may be published subsequent to submission, as the anthology asks only for world serial rights for any poem(s) selected, not first serial rights. Our only requirement is that previously published pieces of writing submitted to the anthology be first published (whether in print or online) in 2015, and not in previous years.
  • Simultaneous submissions to other venues are permitted and encouraged. If your work is selected for the anthology, we will ask you to inform us of any previous publication of the poem(s) so that this can be properly acknowledged in the anthology.
  • If you have ever been a colleague, student, and/or close friend of the guest editor or the series editors Seth Abramson and Jesse Damiani) there is a question on the Wesleyan Submittable web page where you can indicate any editors with whom you have had such a relationship. Please indicate such a relationship with an editor or editors, so your submission can be read by someone other than the editor or editors you know.
  • Selections for the anthology will be announced publicly in spring 2016, though authors whose work is selected will be notified electronically by Februrary 1, 2016. We may ask to excerpt selected pieces of writing for the anthology or for promotional purposes; however, work will not be excerpted or used for promotion without prior permission from its author(s).

Additional Guidelines and CLMP Compliance

Neither this anthology nor its Editors or Publishers subscribe to a single definition for the term "experimental writing." No definition suffices; experimentation in the literary arts is by definition a moving target. Individual submitters must decide for themselves whether their work sufficiently challenges conventional literary mores to warrant submission to this project. While we anticipate that the bulk of submissions and selections will be authored by individuals who at least partially self-identify as poets, and that the bulk of submissions and selections will exhibit some manifestation of form or concept that reasonably may be attributed to a poetic impulse, our interest is equally in genre, cross-genre, and non-genre work. Consequently, no author should feel excluded from this open reading period on the grounds that she or he does not primarily write or publish work written under the sign of contemporary American poetry. Our focus, instead, is simply on literary work--of any vintage or variety--that pushes boundaries rather than conforming neatly to existing literary phenomena.

Wesleyan abides by The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Code of Ethics. The CLMP community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical submission and editorial guidelines for open reading periods and book contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethically-run open reading period or book contest. To that end, Wesleyan, its annual guest editors, and its series editors agree 1) to conduct our open reading period for Best American Experimental Writing as ethically as possible, and to address any unethical behavior on the part of Wesleyan staff, guest editors, series editors, or preliminary readers; 2) to provide clear and specific guidelines for the reading period, including defining conflicts of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process readily available to the public. The CLMP Code of Ethics recognizes that different selection models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. Wesleyan has adopted the Code for its Best American Experimental Writing open reading period to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our open reading periods contribute to a vibrant literary heritage. 

Previous Editions:


BAX 2015
Douglas Kearney, Guest Editor

DOUGLAS KEARNEY is a poet, performer, and librettist. He is the author of Patter and The Black Automaton. He lives in Los Angeles. 


BAX 2014
Cole Swensen, Guest Editor
(pubished by Omnidawn)

COLE SWENSEN "is the author of 13 books of poetry, including Gravesend (U. of California, upcoming 2012) and a book of essays Noise that Stays Noise(U. of Michigan, upcoming 2011). She's also the co-editor of the 2009 Norton anthology American Hybrid and the founder and editor of La Presse, a nano-press dedicated to contemporary French work in translation." (