Pine Hills Review Style Guide

This style guide is to keep things consistent, especially in interviews, author bios, and prose in general.

We use and adhere to the most recent editions of the following style guides: Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) first, Associated Press Style Guide second, if it’s not mentioned in Chicago, and if it’s not mentioned in the AP Style, we use BuzzFeed Style. Some entries will be reminders of style and editing issues already made in Chicago and AP; others will be Pine Hills Review-specific matters as we move along.

If there are any queries, or proposed additions, or we just haven’t decided what to do, we add the entry and highlight in yellow. 

Tip: Use the Find command (ctrl + F; ⌘ + F on a Mac) to search for specific words or topics.

Formatting Poetry for the Web

For the most part left margin-aligned poems that do not make use of more than one or two blanks spaces can be formatted without error inside WordPress, our current CMS. After that, however, all bets are off.

Say this entire block of text is a single line of poetry, which happens a lot, at least on the printed page. When there is a poem like this, that has a line like this, that goes longer or wided than the page’s margins, like maybe one from C.K. Williams or Walt Whitman, you can’t re-create the indent after the first line, like we’re doing here; and that’s because in hypertext there never is an “end of a line.” Without intervention or code, a monitor that’s three feet wide could contain this whole line.

Or                  maybe               a                          poem              uses   funky formatting,

like this, an             d there are ways to format    poems




Most have drawbacks and with all the different kinds of browsers and devices, there is no guaranteee that the poem will be accurately presented.

HTML, hypertext markup language, is supposed to how we format pages and text in web pages. It works in the background in every web page you read. As Dave Bonta points out in his invaluable guide, “How to format poetry on the web: an incomplete guide,” “HTML is not very poetry-friendly,” he writes. That about sums it up, but I recommend reading the entire article linked above, as Bonta outlines most of the scenarios for presenting poetry on the web.

Even though Bonta thinks it’s not the best way to go, it’s PHR style to go for the jpeg method of presentation when a piece of writing we accept is formatted beyond the limits of our CMS and conventional HTML. These jpegs should have the text in Times Roman 12 point as much as possible, since the house typeface for our publication will change over the years, and Times Roman is the most neutral of typefaces.

Alphabetical List of Usages


Academic titles in bios

Do not capitalize titles that follow names or stand alone. Exception: proper nouns in titles.

He is an assistant professor of English at Noname University.

Placing the title after the name is preferred, of course, in a bio.


No periods in acronyms per CMOS.

PS and not P.S.

USA and not U.S.A.

PTSD and not P.T.S.D.

Albany, NY not Albany, N.Y.

ad nauseam, in italics, per Chicago > Websters (see foreign phrases and italics)

affect versus effect

Commonly confused!

Incorrect: The controversy had a negative affect on sales.

Revised: The controversy had a negative effect on sales. (or) The controversy affected sales negatively.

Age terms and formats. Per CMOS:

a three- year-old

a five- year-old child

a fifty-five-year-old woman

a group of eight- to ten-year-olds


seven years old

eighteen years of age

Hyphenated in both noun and adjective forms (except as in

the last two examples); note the space after the first hyphen in

the fourth example (see 7.84). The examples apply equally to

ages expressed as numerals.

Albany, NY not Albany, N.Y. or Albany, New York, or just Albany.

alum, lower-case, not alumni or alumna. We use this non-gender-specific slang shortened version of the word in social posts in reference to a Pine Hills Review alum or PHR alum

2 a.m., not AM or A.M. per Chicago

American Poetry Review, not The American Poetry Review or APR

The American Journal of Poetry, not American Journal of Poetry per website

Apostrophes, smart and dumb. We use “smart,” or curved, quotes and apostrophes, not dumb.

Example: John’s birthday and not John's birthday

Or, in the case of quotation marks:  

"Somebody told me they thought Gary killed his first soldier at Normandy."

“Somebody told me they thought Gary killed his first soldier at Normandy.”

Author photos in bios ideally should be resized down to a width of 150 pixels. We do this because of usability: it’s easier to load online, especially for mobile devices, and sometimes digital images print out at full size, etc.

Author photo credit. If specified in the name of the file or if the author requests it, photographer credits should appear as the caption to the photo file. It should read with the name of the photographer only, and no end punctuation.

Author photo: John Travolta [one paragraph space after end of bio, italics, colon after “author photo,” no period

Update (April 2020): We now use the Media & Text block for author bios, with the author’s photo on the left side. We do this so in mobile view, the author’s photo will appear ABOVE the bio of the author. It makes more sense to have the “Author photo: credit appear after the bio.

For example: if an author photo was taken by someone named Kassi Jackson, the caption should not read “Photo by Kassi Jackson.” or “Author photo by Kassi Jackson.” It should just say “Kassi Jackson.”


Best American Poetry italics

the Best American Poetry 2020 is italics, if it’s a specific year, it’s in italics; “the” is not italicized or capitalized

[mid-sentence] ….appears in in the Best American Poetry series; “the” is no ital or caps, “series” is no ital or caps

Best of the Net, no ital, not Best of The Net

bestseller, bestselling, not best-seller, best-selling

Best New Poets — not italics?

Big Other, not The Big Other

Bio style (updated December 2020)

Here is a sample bio, with style matters annotated as it moves along inside square brackets [like this]. If you have any queries or editorial scenarios, place inside this bio in context and highlight in yellow. Formatting for tumblr links?

Allie Marini Batts [no bold, can include hyperlink to website] holds degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles and New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. She is managing editor [note: titles not capitalized] for the NonBinary Review [note italics and link] and Zoetic Press, and is the author of the poetry chapbooks, You Might Curse Before You Bless [note italic and no quotes] (ELJ Publications [no comma between publisher and year] 2013), Unmade & Other Poems (Beautysleep Press 2013), [note serial comma] and This Is How We End (Bitterzoet [no comma] 2014). Find her on the web  [no full URLs are inline; everything except named websites needs to be hyperlinked] or online at [note www. is edited out; .com or .org is ok]. She tweets at  @kiddeternity. [note Twitter address is shortened to the @name, hyperlinked]. [<<<<period or no period after web addresses or links??????????????? not linked]

Author photo: Joe Blow [note one paragraph space, in italics, colon after “author photo,” and no period

Update (April 2020): We now use the “Media & Text” block for author bios, with the author’s photo on the left side. We do this so in mobile view, the author’s photo will appear ABOVE the bio of the author, which makes more sense than plopping it afterwards.

[As always: Link to 2-3 publications the authors mention, if they are online! Links means traffic, SEO, and link love!]

Author photo size: ideally, the author photo should be set to about 150-200 pixels wide.

BIPOC (OK on first reference for Black, Indigenous, and people of color)

Black, not black, when referring to a person, ethnicity, or culture. Per AP: AP’s style is now to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. The lowercase black is a color, not a person. 

BlazeVox, not BlazeVOX or BlazeVox [books] etc.

BOMB, not Bomb or BOMB Magazine.

Bombus Press

Booth, not BOOTH or BOOTH Journal or Booth Journal per website.

BuzzFeed, not Buzzfeed


Canva, style for social media stuff. See “Social Media Card and Post Style in Canva”

CBGB, not CBGB's

century numbers

spelled out per Chicago: nineteenth century (not 19th Century/century); twentieth century (not 20th Century/century); avoid it whenever possible, but do not use an apostrophe for 1800s, 1700s, 1600s


co- words

are not hyphenated: coworker, copilot

Colons, capitalizing after.

Capitalize first word after colon if it begins independent clause.

I did have one thought: some day this will all end.

Commas: Don’t Overuse Them

Superfluous commas make sentences difficult to read.

Incorrect: Field trips are required, in several courses, such as, botany and geology.

Revised: Field trips are required in several courses, such as botany and geology.

Incorrect: The term “scientific illiteracy,” has become almost a cliché in educational circles.

Revised: The term “scientific illiteracy” has become almost a cliché in educational circles.

Commas: When To Include and not to include after Introductory Element

Use a comma after a dependent clause that precedes the main clause of a sentence, after an introductory phrase that contains an infinitive or a gerund, and after a participle not used as an adjective before a noun:

 Since it was starting to rain, we left.

By burning their bridges, they. . . .

After the burning bridge came a succession of. . . .(burning used here as an adjective)

Being satisfied, they set to work.

Following the firemen, we came to. . . .

Following the hurricane some of the farmers. . . . (Following used here as a preposition; after would be clearer.)

When the introductory matter contains no verb, its length and readability determine the need for a comma. Omit commas after short introductory phrases unless misreading could occur:

By 1995 he was running the business by himself.

At the time, he was running the business by himself.

For the past 15 years U.S. utilities needed to add power.

Worldwide there has been an increase in zoonotic diseases.

Worldwide, people have the same basic needs.

With satisfied smiles they set to work.

My personal feeling is, we will have a concern in the next couple of decades.  

(from National Geographic Style Guide)

Comma with a Nonrestrictive Element

A nonrestrictive phrase or clause provides additional information that is not essential to the basic meaning of the sentence. Use commas to set off a nonrestrictive element.

David, who loved to read history, was the first to head to the British Library.

The clause who loved to read history does not affect the basic meaning of the sentence.  The clause could be taken out and the reader would still understand that David was the first to head to the British Library. This is why this a nonrestrictive element, or nonessential phrase.

(from National Geographic Style Guide)

Commas and semicolons in compound sentences

Commas: Use a comma between independent clauses joined by for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so (FANBOYS), either . . . or, neither . . ., unless the clauses are short and closely joined in thought:

The ice thins out and patches appear.


Semicolon: When independent clauses are not connected by a conjunction, separate them with a semicolon (or a period):

We looked all around; we liked what we saw.

If the clauses are very short and simple, and quite closely linked in thought, commas may be used:

I came, I saw, I conquered.

(from National Geographic Style Guide)

Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, colon, no hyphen


COVID-19, not COVID 19 or Covid or Covid 19



day care, not day care per AP


We use them. No double hyphens. No space em-dash space. Em-dashes should be closed up on both sides. Convert in Wordpress/HTML. The HTML code is &mdash; you can copy and paste an em-dash—like that one and paste in place. It’s best to do this in manuscript, before putting into production.



We use them when it’s called for. No hyphen for a range of numbers, for example. Convert in Wordpress/HTML. The HTML code is &ndash;

For example: Year ranges use an en-dash: 1887–1963


Chicago prefers to spell out the names of decades (e.g, seventies, eighties), but we’re going with arabic numbers and one apostrophe before; So: ’70s is correct, ’70’s or 70’s. NOTE: watch out for the apostrophe facing the wrong direction. When typing straight through, the apostrophe will face the wrong way like this: ‘70s. To avoid this, type the apostrophe at the end of the previous word, then move it over.

Step one: Back in the’ 70s.

Step two: Back in the ’ ← insert a space between “the” and apostrophe

Step three: type the decade in: Back in the ’70s/

decomp/decomP confusion

decomp is one journal -- they are

decomP  is another journal. Short for Decomposition Magazine, long-running online publication.

DIAGRAM, not Diagram or diagram or whatever

douchebag, d-bag, not douche bag or D-bag

Drunk In A Midnight Choir, each word capitalized





consists of three periods, with a space before and after … like this; as opposed to three spaced periods, with space before and after (CMOS), etc.


We place epigraphs flush left (in a variation of Chicago) and in italics. If there is an author or source quoted, it’s on the next line with an em-dash and the author/source name in Roman

Note: if quoting poetry, we use a slash before and after the slash to indicate a line break, as well as two slashes for a stanza break.

Excerpts in WordPress

Should be 180 characters or fewer; indicate line breaks/like this,  stanza breaks//like this.

No ellipses. No added punctuation. If it’s not grammatical--uncapitalized, etc.--don’t worry.


facade, not façade [i.e., no cedilla]

FaceTime (the Apple app), but face time (n.) (in all other uses)

Farrar, Straus & Giroux not Farrar, Straus, and Giroux or Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Feature, Features

When we publish something, it’s not an issue. It is a feature. Except for Special Features, Pine Hills Review publishes one piece or pieces at a time by a single author. So when we refer to something new, we say or refer to it as “a new feature on Pine Hills Review” and not “the new issue of Pine Hills Review.”

Fence not FENCE

FIELD, the journal is all caps and ital


Foreign language phrases and italics

Some non-English phrases are italicized per Chicago style, but it’s inconsistent. Check with Merriam Webster dictionary online to see if a specific phrase is italicized. For example, ad nauseam, is ital per Websters, so it’s our style, too.

Forklift, Ohio, not Forklift, OH or Forklift Ohio


Gasher Journal, not GASHER Journal or GASHER

The Georgia Review, not Georgia Review

Gettysburg Review or The Gettysburg Review????

GlitterMOB is now G*MOB

Google Doc or Google Docs, not doc or docs

google lower case as a verb, Google (noun or company), google-able

gray American spelling always, not grey


HASH, not HASH Journal , Hash, 


hip-hop, not capitalized, just as any other genre of music (jazz, rock n roll, etc.) and with a hyphen

HIV-positive and -negative: Hyphenate in all uses, but the language living with HIV or has HIV is preferred. (BuzzFeed)


mid-Hudson Valley seems to be acceptable (see Marbrook galley)


ice cream, not ice-cream or icecream

Image credit line

Always in italics, always “Image:” colon and never Photo: or Art:.

Credit lines should read follows

Image: Courtney Bernardo (scenario where there is not title)

Image: “Experiment” by Courtney Bernardo

Interview byline without a bio

Sometimes we run interviews and for whatever reason, the interviewer doesn’t want to run, or doesn’t pass along, a bio and photo. When this is the case, we put the byline flush right, em-dash, “interview by First name Last name”

Like this:

Last line of interview. Yadda yadda yadda.


—interview by Huey Lewis

Iowa Writers’ Workshop, not Iowa Writers Workshop

Internet is capitalized per AP and Chicago, although that may change.

Italics. Any text with italics, when pasted in from Word into Wordpress, will likely lose the format of the italics. Always check when a piece into production and match italics from the original.

IthacaLit, closed up, one word, I and L caps, not Ithaca Lit or Ithaca Lit or Ithacalit

it, its, it’s

One of the most common proofreading errors.

its is possessive

it refers to a thing or idea

it’s is the contraction for it is


Text TK


kick-ass, hyphen


Lay and lie rule

Lay and lie are different words. “Lay” refers to a direct object and “lie” does not. You lie down on the sofa (no direct object there) and lay your favorite book on the table. Get it?

Lay should only be used when you’re talking about setting something else down, like a book or a blanket. However, it does get confusing when you consider “lay” is the past tense of “lie.” So if you’re trying to state that you set yourself down in the past, you use “lay” (e.g., “I lay down an hour ago for a nap”). If you’re stating that you set something else down in the past, you use “laid.”

less vs. fewer

Use less when referring to nouns or ideas like distance, clouds, or happines; use fewer when referring to things that are countable, e.g., There are fewer dudes at this party; I got fewer questions correct than incorrect on the exam.

Leveler, not the Leveler or The Leveler or LEVELER, or The Leveler Poetry


Use commas on either side for an interjection, e.g., If you have, like, a really bad day… No quotation marks when used as a self-referential pseudo quote, e.g., I was like, we could never do that. And then we did. Don't set off with commas when used as a substitute for about: There were like five dudes standing there.

Literary Hub, no ital

Lit Hub, not LitHub or Lithub

The Los Angeles Review,  not Los Angeles Review or L.A. Review etc.

Los Angeles Review of Books, not The Los Angeles Review of Books


makeup, not make-up when referring to cosmetics; make-up as in make-up exam

Major names and degree specialties are not capitalized, unless the word is a proper noun. So it’s “early Shakespeare and public administration,” and not Early Shakespeare and Public Administration.”

MASKS Literary Magazine, not Masks or Masks Literary Magazine

#MeToo (not Me Too for the #MeToo movement)

M.A. not MA in bios and in interviews.

M.F.A. not MFA, in bios and in interviews.

the McNeese Review, not The McNeese Review or McNeese Review etc. per their own website

middle class, not Middle Class or middle-class

Monkeybicycle, not Monkey Bicycle

MoonPark Review, not The MoonPark Review

Myspace, not MySpace


New Ohio Review, not The New Ohio Review or the New Ohio Review

nonbinary, no hyphen

nonfiction, no fucking hyphen

North and South vs. north and south

From MLA website:

The Chicago Manual of Style (8.47) for geographic terms. For example, we capitalize north, south, east, and west when the terms refer to regions or cultures:

Customs in the East differ from those in the West.

She moved from the East Coast to the West Coast.

The South lost the war.

You should read both Western and Eastern philosophy.

Many scholars now study the global South.

No Tokens


Nurture, not Nurture Literary Journal or Nurture: A Literary Journal


Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, with ampersand


Not okay or O.K. per AP

Oxford Comma, or serial comma  

We use it, in bios and interviews per Chicago; in original work, we defer to the writer, and look for consistency within one piece and query author as needed.


2 p.m., not PM or P.M. per Chicago

PANK, not [PANK]

PANK Books, not Pank Books or [PANK] Books or [PANK] Books

Pensive or Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts, not Pensive Literary Journal or Pensive Journal


In keeping with AP style, we spell out percent in most cases, with a few exceptions.

Periods, spaces after periods. One space, not two. Change throughout mss.

Ph.D. not PhD in bios and interview

Pidgeonholes, not Pidgeon Holes or PidgeonHoles

The Pinch, not The Pinch Literary Review or Pinch etc.

Pine Hills Review

Always in italics in-text;

not The Pine Hills Review or PH Review.


is fine after spelled out first reference. No italics!

Possessive apostrophes

The rules about forming possessives probably cause the most apostrophe confusion. They vary a little bit, depending on what type of noun you are making into a possessive.

Here are the rules of thumb:

For most singular nouns, add apostrophe, followed by an “s”:

The dog’s leash The writer’s desk The planet’s atmosphere

For most plural nouns, add only an apostrophe:

The dogs’ leashes (multiple dogs) The writers’ desks (multiple writers) The planets’ atmospheres (multiple planets)

For plural nouns that do not end in s, add apostrophe+s:

The children’s toys The geese’s migration route

Style guides vary in their recommendations of what to do when you have a singular proper noun that ends in s. We follow Chicago, then AP:

Charles Dickens’s novels Kansas’s main airport

Texas’s rivers

Remember: no matter which style guide you use, add only the apostrophe to plural proper nouns that end in s:

Lebron James’ injury The Harrises’ drivorce The Smiths’ break-up

(adapted from PRNews and Grammarly)

Pretty Owl Poetry, not pretty owl poetry

professor, lower-cased after name, per Chicago in running text capitalize job titles only before a person’s name, not after the name and not in isolation

So it’s professor of English, not Professor of English

Publication credits, see Bio style NO comma between publisher’s name and the publication year in a parenthetical credit. So:

(Random House 2012) and not (Random House, 2012)

Pushcart Prize, not Pushcard [???]

Pushcart Prize nominee, not Pushcart Prize Nominee etc. or Pushcart nominee


Quoted poetry, in epigraphs and other prose

Per Chicago and APA, in quoted poetry, there is a single space before and after the slash–like / this–to indicate a line break, and a double slash with no space between the slashes–like // this–to indicate a stanza break. You might see a lot of no space before the line break and a space after, etc. This is not correct style. This is discussed at length here.  

Quotes, smart and dumb. We use smart, or curved, quotes and apostrophes, not dumb. Example: “Happy Birthday” not "Happy Birthday"


Red Fez, not RedFez or Redfez

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, not RPI or R.P.I.

roundtable (adj., n.)


Saint Rose: The College of Saint Rose, with The and spelled-out Saint; not College of Saint Rose, or The College of St. Rose.

seasons, do not capitalize

Section breaks, marks for. No single asterisk or triple-asterisk, no matter what’s in the original’s manuscript. We use our own, consistent section symbol across all features in fiction and nonfiction.

This also applies to poetry when the section break is indicated and is not used as an intentional idioglyph or ideogram, weighted with any meaning besides delineating a section break.

For all sections breaks that require a mark, we’re going to go with the symbol for the section: §. This is centered, on its own line.

Update 1/2021: We now use the Separator block using the option of three dots, which look like this:

The reason for this update is that the current block editors in WordPress will not retain center formatting for the section symbol §.

All future and previous features should be updated.

Serial comma: we use it in bios and interviews per Chicago; in original work, we defer to the writer, and look for consistency within one piece. Query author as needed.

The Shore

Similar:Peaks:: (see Tedesco galley)

skill set, not skillset

Slugs, URL Slug in WordPress

These are customized when making our galleys. WordPress will automatically put the title-with-hyphens like this. Before publication, change the slug to the author’s first name followed by the last name, no space. So a piece by Jamie Smith, for example would have a slug that says jamiesmith

If it is an interview with someone, same applies byt with “qa” after it. An interview with Jamie Smith would read jamiesmithqa

For those infrequent occasions we publish someone again, the slug would have 2, 3, etc. after the name. The second time we publish Jamie Smith would be jamiesmith2, and so on.

Social Media Card and Post Style in Canva

As of 2020, we use Canva for our social media post thingies. Here is the style that Michelle Lin developed and we’re adhering to this:

Headlines and Author names: League Spartan

Headlines are not all caps; they default to conventional capitalization, but also default to the original style of the work or author name

Body text and text for captions: Libre Baskerville

Again, not all caps. If quoting from poetry, use line breaks and hang indent for overflow; if not using that option, use the/front slash for line breaks or//for stanza breaks


Southern writer, Southern is upper-cased

SUNY Adirondack

SWWIM not SWWIM with italics per their own website


t-shirt, not T-shirt, despite what any dictionary or style guide.

The Threepenny Review, not Threepenny Review

Till, with two l’s; not til or ’til. Till is a real word, a word on its own, not a shortened version of until

Time format: 2 a.m., not AM or A.M. per Chicago

Titles, capitalization

Remember: we use CMOS first, AP second, then BuzzFeed styles. One great resource online is, which runs down the different scenarios for whether a word is capitalized or not according to our style. The word “from,” for instance, in the middle of a title is not capitalized per CMOS, so we go with that, even though it is capitalized per AP. When an author’s title uses conventional capitalization--that is, when they are not “using all lower case” and so on--editors can always change the title per style. As always, whenever you see a deviation from a past published piece, please change or query editors. This online tool is really helpful.

TLS, not the TLS etc.

trampset, not Trampset 

TV, not T.V.

Twitter, reference in bios. If an author bio mentions a Twitter account, it’s usually saying to follow them. Phrase it like this: You can follow him/her/them on Twitter at @Namehere. Link the “@Namehere part.” Do not include the entire URL (i.e.,

tweets is lower-cassed, as in “They tweet at @yaddayadda.”


ugly cry, not ugly-cry

Up the Staircase Quarterly and note the lower case t in “the” per website

Upstate New York, not upstate NY or upstate New York

URL Slugs, naming conventions

First time someone is published: firstnamelastname

Interview: firstnamelastnameqa

Second and subsequent times: firstnamelastname2, firstnamelastname3, etc.

Second interview: firstnamelastnameqa2, firstnamelastnameqa3, etc.

US rather than U.S. is now preferred per Chicago


Vague Pronoun References, avoid

A pronoun (e.g., he, this, it) should refer clearly to the noun it replaces (called the antecedent).  If more than one word could be the antecedent, or if no specific antecedent is present, edit to make the meaning clear.

In this sentence, it possibly refers to more than one word:

            If you put this handout in your binder, it may remind you of important tutoring strategies.

In some pronoun usage, the reference is implied but not stated.  Here, for example, you might wonder what which refers to:

The authoritarian school changed its cell phone policy, which many students resisted.

To improve this sentence, the writer needs to make explicit what students resisted.

VCR, not V.C.R.


Website addresses

Never include the http://www; always include just the name of the website proper. So it’s, and not

the whorticulturist, not The Whorticulturalist


Text TK


Year ranges

Always use an en-dash: 1887–1963



ZYZZYVA, not Zyzzyva