Home > Nature in the Cracks > Call for Submissions: Nature in the Cracks

Call for Submissions: Nature in the Cracks

March 1, 2008

Spring is almost here in many parts of the northern hemisphere, though you might not know it from the fresh snow blanketing much of the northeastern U.S. this morning. Here at qarrtsiluni, we are once again sitting in the darkness, waiting for submissions to an intriguing new theme: Nature in the Cracks. The guest editors write:

We’re seeking prose, poetry, and artwork that celebrates the nature of the world revealed by time, weather, decay, cycle, and neglect. It’s the understated beauty of the stain inside a teacup, not the ornate pattern decorating the porcelain. It’s a sadness for old barns slouching in fog, the branch you accidentally break that turns the owl’s moon face your direction. It’s the liver spots on your grandmother’s forearm, the crooked curl of her fingers over the rocker arm. It’s the well-worn patch of wood stain faded smooth there.

“Nature in the Cracks” also celebrates the patience and necessity of cycles. Water from a warm season must seep into an invisible fissure along the boulder before freezing and expanding to open the crack wider. Leaf litter collects there and moss takes hold before any errant maple seed helicopters in. How many seasons must this cycle repeat before enough decay has collected to sprout a seed?

It’s in the cracks where nature adjusts, changes, and teems, a marginal place that exists without borders, physical or theoretical, a place where something new might evolve out of the muck. “Nature in the Cracks” seeks writing about wildness found in strange places — from landfills to prisons, sidewalk cracks to salad crispers.

As always, see the How to Contribute page for more details. The suggested word limit for text contributions is 2000 words, and the deadline for submissions is March 31.

The editors for this issue hail from opposite ends of the United States, but they share a strong affinity for wildernesses both real and figurative. Brent Goodman — who just made his qarrtsiluni debut with two poems in the last issue — lives in northern Wisconsin, and goes fishing and kayaking every chance he gets. His poetry has appeared in a number of print and online magazines, from Poetry to Rattle to The Cortland Review, and he’s published two chapbooks. His first full-length collection, The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, was recently accepted for publication by Black Lawrence Press. Ken Lamberton is based in Tucson, Arizona, but is spending an extended weekend in the Mojave Desert as this announcement goes to virtual press. Ken has published more than 100 nature articles and essays — including two in qarrtsiluni — and four books, including Wilderness and Razor Wire, which won the coveted John Borroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing in 2002. Ken won a 2007 Soros Justice Fellowship from the Open Society Institute to complete and promote his latest book, Time of Grace: Thoughts on Nature, Family, and the Politics of Crime and Punishment. We are pleased and honored to have two such accomplished writers on board as we thread a course through this great turning of the year.

— Dave Bonta and Beth Adams

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