Deadline: September 22nd, 2020
Payment: eight cents a word for prose, thirty dollars a page for poetry
Theme: Creative writing about environmental justice
The short version: creative writing about environmental justice. Fiction preferably at least a tiny bit speculative, nonfiction preferably more creative than journalistic, poetry tending towards the narrative and preferably with some thematic heft, art leaning away from the pulpy heavily towards the political. But the heart of what we want is your searingly personal, visceral, idiosyncratic understanding of the world and the people in it as it has been, as it is, as it will be, as it could be, as a consequence of humanity’s relationship with the earth.
We are actively seeking work from Indigenous writers and artists, writers and artists of color, queer and transgender writers and artists, and anyone who has suffered the consequences, intended or otherwise, of dominant society’s systemic disconnect with and mistreatment of the natural world. And we’re actively seeking new ways to reach all of the above. Seriously, if you know of a way we can do that, please share.
We’d love to publish work in translation! We’re currently open to considering writing in Spanish, French or Swedish for potential translation, and work already translated into English, for which we pay the same rate to both author and translator.
We don’t publish work we perceive to be prejudiced in any form, including sexism, racism, ableism, ageism. We reserve the right to point it out—respectfully—when we see it, though we’re as prone to mistakes and misunderstanding as anyone else.
We’re no longer accepting submissions by email; queries are ok. Simultaneous submissions are ok. Multiple poetry submissions is preferred, 3-5 poems, <10 pages; with longer submissions (including long poems), please send one at a time. Feel free to submit again after you hear back. Query for reprints. Length: 0 – 45,000 words, inclusive. Response time has ranged from one to four months. Payment is eight cents a word for prose, thirty dollars a page for poetry, art negotiable, minimum twenty-five dollars per piece. Sample contract is here. We’re always open for submissions, but the arbitrary cutoff point for the fifth issue will be the (northern hemisphere) autumn equinox, September 22, 2020.
All of the above shall be subject hopefully not to too much change but certainly to clarification, evolution and adaptation.
For Reckoning 5, I want stories that elicit a sense of wonder about the environment. We all know that biodiversity is endangered, but our hyper-urban lifestyles are making us so out of touch with the natural world that it’s sometimes easier to imagine complete environmental destruction than to look at the environment we still do have. And how can we be expected to protect what we don’t even see?
So show us why we should care. Show us the beauty of our world, before or after the apocalypse, protected or on the brink of destruction, blooming in pristine rainforests or sprouting from cracks in the concrete. We all fear a barren future; but let’s not forget, every now and then, to take a real look at that environment we so want protect.
I will consider exceptional stories that fall somewhat outside of that theme, as long as they address the topic of environmental justice.
Want to know more? (not required reading, but it might help)
We strongly prefer stories that reflect the complexity of environmental issues. Some tropes, such as ‘Humans are monsters/parasites and someone needs to save the earth from them’ or ‘Climate change is really being caused by aliens/a mad scientist/a magical creature’ tend to steer stories towards over-simplification. Others, such as eco-terrorism or ‘Out-of-touch city-born environmentalists confront down-to-earth realistic locals’ are outright harmful, in a time when environmentalists are routinely dismissed, attacked or murdered on the grounds that they are ‘fanatics.’ If your story uses these tropes, please think carefully about whether it still portrays environmental justice in a nuanced, sensitive way.
For Reckoning 5, I’m looking for poems which move in concert with fiction editor Cécile Cristofari’s call for work that spotlights the moments of environmental beauty we’re living in right now, holding close to our hearts, or carefully cultivating in the back corner lot twice a day, on the way to and from the streetcar.
The little seed you’re carrying around, waiting to replant. The spaces cupped full of joy in motion. Something holy in your pocket; a little-god reminder of why we do the work and what’s worth working for. That which is coming. That which has been quietly growing all along. That which is beautiful amidst the noise—all seen through the lens of environmental justice.
I have a soft spot for formal poetry done in a way where your voice slips free, but would love to see your free verse, translations, little epics, concrete poetry, speculative poetry, all the things I couldn’t even think up right now to list, and most importantly, the unique texture of your own voice.
If you’re working in a form or tradition you aren’t sure I’ll culturally grasp: please, tell me about it in your cover letter. I’ll ask the followup questions necessary to meet you halfway.
I will consider exceptional work that falls slightly outside of the theme or spins it in unexpected ways as long as it stays firmly centred on the topic of environmental justice.
Up to five poems per submission welcomed, and thank you in advance for your work.
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