Whether reader or writer or curious surfer, welcome to Theodate, Volume 1 Number 1, the earliest version of what we hope will become a popular online stop for poetry aficionados.


Good News:   We are pleased to welcome poet & web wizard Dan Manchester to the Theodate staff as our new website designer and manager. Beginning with V2N1, Dan will be working closely with Assistant Editor Heidi St. Jean to build upon what has been established in our first two issues. We are very excited for what he brings to the Theodate (re)mix. In this regard, we extend deep thanks to outgoing webmeister Josh Lake who worked patiently with founding editor Brad Davis to create the initial Theodate vibe and web presence. Beginnings are good. Growth is good. Change, too. And so we press on.





Theodate, a triannual journal published in the spring, fall, and winter, welcomes submissions from established, emerging, and student poets. Though we wish we could, we do not pay writers whose work we accept for publication.

1. All submissions must be made online through our submission manager, no exceptions. Click here to access said manager. Submissions that arrive by any other means will not be read or returned.

2. All submissions must be previously unpublished. When we accept a poem, we acquire first-time Internet rights, and it should not be published again in any medium until after it is published in Theodate. As well, the poem will be archived online indefinitely.

3. If you choose to submit simultaneously and a poem is accepted elsewhere before you hear from us, PLEASE—as soon as humanly possible—let us know: [email protected]. Thank you.



Theodate gets its name from architect, Theodate Pope Riddle, who designed and later donated Hill-Stead, her family’s Connecticut home (completed in 1901), as an estate museum featuring Impressionist works she and her father purchased in Europe. Since 1992, the museum has sponsored the prestigious Sunken Garden Poetry Festival.

In April 2011, an editor was hired to found the online journal and edit a hardcopy anthology in celebration of the festival’s 20th anniversary. Both projects were released in May 2012 during the 20th season’s opening celebration weekend. To support all things Sunken Garden (including Theodate), Sunken Garden Poetry: 1992-2011 (Wesleyan University Press) can be ordered directly from Hill-Stead Museum’s online shop:

As Theodate Riddle sought in her architectural design to include both the traditional and the innovative, Theodate publishes poems of all styles that aspire to excellence in a contemporary idiom. We are not prudish or squeamish, but neither are we prurient. We aim to publish the best work that, in the spirit of the festival, we feel is pitched to a broad reading public. This does not mean we eschew difficult poems. The difficulty must, however, reward the good attention of smart nonspecialists as well as lit-trained readers.



As the literary journal of an art museum, it is only natural that Theodate should be committed to encouraging ekphrasis, poems that take as their inspiration other works of art. To that end, our “Daily Ekphrasis” section features poems written in response to art found in the Hill-Stead collection. To see the works for which we are currently seeking poems, click here. When these works later appear as cover art for future issues of Theodate, we will publish also the corresponding ekphrastic poems. For a brief tutorial on ekphrasis as a poetic form, click here.

Finally, if you like what you find here, please recommend Theodate to your circle of friends, whether real or virtual. Help us get the word out about the rich fare found in Theodate.