Posts Tagged ‘theme description’

Call for submissions: Fragments

May 21, 2012 7 comments

Submissions are now open for the Fragments issue, with a deadline of just one month from now: June 20, the solstice. The issue editors are Olivia Dresher and Catherine Ednie. All submissions must be sent through our submissions manager.

Theme description

The theme for this issue is fragments: writing “in the wild.” Overly crafted pieces can feel less honest, less real, even boring… whereas fragments are illuminations, a flash of lightning, a light turned on for just a second. Shards, torn pages, unstrung beads, homeless paragraphs, scraps, brevities, miniatures… brief excerpts from notebooks… writings that may be aphoristic or simply wordplay, meditative or emotionally raw… unpredictable, probing, urgent, spontaneous. We love writing that contains an element of surprise, reflecting a commitment to fragments as a literary genre.

Send us your pieces that stand alone or consist of a series of short fragments. Optionally, we’d also like to receive (as an introduction or postscript) your thoughts on the mystery of fragments… or simply submit fragments about fragments. We have a preference for fragments that can be read on the screen without much scrolling, roughly 500 words or less. We’re also seeking art work and photography on this theme, as well as audio and video recordings. Please note that audio recordings for the podcast will be voluntary for this issue, due to the challenges of recording fragmentary material.

To read about fragments as a literary genre, we recommend the Introduction to In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing, which can be found in the book description online. And to explore fragmentary writing in more depth, visit FragLit Magazine, where you will find many fragments, as well as bibliographies of fragmentary writing.


Olivia Dresher is a publisher, editor, anthologist, and writer of poetic fragments and aphorisms. She is the publisher of Impassio Press, and was editor of FragLit Magazine until it was suspended in 2010. She is also co-founder and director of the Life Writing Connection. Her poetry, fragments, and essays have appeared in anthologies and in a variety of online and in-print literary magazines. She is the editor of In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing and co-editor of Darkness and Light: Private Writing as Art: An Anthology of Contemporary Journals, Diaries, and Notebooks. She has written thousands of poetic fragments at Twitter (@OliviaDresher), spontaneously, and plans to select some of these for two print collections.

Catherine Ednie is a writer of fragments who is happy to have found a home for her work at FragLit, qarrtsiluni, and the In Pieces anthology. She also has been exploring the possibilities of fragmentary writing at Twitter (@cednie). She is a proud member of her local poetry community, Poem Alley at Curley’s Diner, Stamford, Connecticut, and has edited and contributed to a number of their publications. She writes: “My writing is deeply rooted in keeping a personal journal, a regular practice for 40+ years. At some point, I became disenchanted with traveling what felt like the same old territory in my journal. Using techniques from poetry — rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, detail, narrative — I found I could go to new places in my notebook. From reading and studying poetry, I learned ways to keep writing meaningful yet mysterious, and engaged with both emotion and language. I’ve explored automatic writing, prose poetry, constraint-based writing (OuLiPo), and visual poetry. I like to surprise myself when I reread what I have written. Thanks to Olivia Dresher, I found out I was a writer of fragments.”

Categories: Fragments Tags:

Call for Submissions: Imitation

November 1, 2011 1 comment

Submissions are now open for the Imitation issue. The deadline is November 30, and we expect the issue to begin serializing here sometime in January, after the conclusion of the current Worship issue.

Theme description

Imitation — that sincerest form! — is in art all too often maligned. “Better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation,” no less a writer than Melville once sneered. For Emerson, imitation was “suicide.” Especially since the Romantic revolt, writers and artists in the West have taken for granted that originality is the soul of creation.

Originality, though, is crippled without discipline, and imitation is an uncompromising practice. The Great Masters of the past knew this well, and would apprentice for years to gain fluency of form; the literature of earlier eras, too, was woven with both homage and parody. Poetry in particular has lent itself to the game: both John Keats and William Blake published An Imitation of Spenser, while Spenser, in turn, openly mimicked a more antique verse. Robert Lowell’s Imitations is humbling in its breadth, and how many countless poets have affixed an italicized “after xx” beneath a title?

We believe there’s plenty to be gained from reviving the imitative tradition — be it in jest, out of reverence, or somewhere in between — and so, for the next issue of qarrtsiluni, we’re asking you for your greatest imitations. Whether you’ve always dreamed of being Faulkner (or Milosz or O’Keefe or Banksy or Bresson), or just want to try your hand at highbrow fanfic, here’s your opportunity.

Submissions will be evaluated not only on their own merits but by how well they evoke the style or approach of another. Though it’s up to you whether or how to acknowledge the model in the submission itself, we do ask that you spell it out in your cover letter. (Where appropriate, you might include a copy of the work being emulated — or spoofed.)

Submission details

Our limits this time are three poems, five images or videos, and/or 1000 words of prose per submission. All submissions must go through the submissions manager (which also includes our general guidelines). If you’ve submitted to other publications that use this system, Submishmash, you’ll need to log in with the same username and password. Otherwise, you’ll create a new account as part of the submission process.

As always, we consider contributions of nonfiction, poetry, short fiction, photographs, digitized artwork, short films, original musical compositions, spoken word recordings, translations and collaborative works.

The editors

Siona van Dijk is an entrepreneur, writer, and graduate student in Depth Psychology. Prior to qarrtsiluni, Siona has served on the editorial staff of The Amherst Review, Circus, and A Further Room. Her favorite mimic is the lyre bird.

Dave Bonta handles most of the day-to-day operations at qarrtsiluni, but once a year he likes to don the hat of an issue editor, too. Some of his other online projects include the videopoetry collection Moving Poems and a daily microblog of observations from his front porch. His most recent print publication is in The Book of Ystwyth: Six poets on the art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

Categories: Imitation Tags:

Call for Submissions: Imprisonment

April 1, 2011 1 comment

Submissions are now open for the Imprisonment issue, which will begin to appear on the site on June 1. The editors are Ken Lamberton and Ann E. Michael.

Theme Description

Is a prisoner simply in the lock-up, or locked up in a multitude of ways? Penned, caged, in the slammer, shut off, closed down, barred and gated, captive, detained, committed, incarcerated, in custody, kidnapped, impounded, seized, snagged, pinched, restrained, jailed… English offers hundreds of ways to name kinds of imprisonment — physical, emotional, intellectual, metaphorical — perhaps because something very basic within us rebels against containment, even when it has its benefits. Like the seedling tree that pushes through cliffside rock to reach sunlight, barriers are things we instinctively push against and try to overcome. Perhaps we are all prisoners.

What are the objects, desires, laws, thoughts, that imprison us? Why do we withhold ourselves; what holds us back? Must punishment be linked to constraints; and where are our prisons of the mind, heart, and place? Might there even be times when imprisonment is welcomed? The editors ask writers and artists to engage in an exploration of the idea and the physical experience of containment and to send work to us that surprises and expands the notion of what it means to be a prisoner.

Submission Details

The deadline for submissions is April 30. All submissions should go through our submissions manager. If you’ve submitted to other publications that use the same system, Submishmash, you’ll need to log in with the same username and password. Otherwise, you’ll create a new account as part of the submission process. People without easy access to the internet, such as prisoners, may get someone else to submit on their behalf. For this issue, we may be able to accommodate postal submissions from prisoners as well, but please query first: qarrtsiluni[at]gmail[dot]com.

As always, we consider contributions of nonfiction, poetry, short fiction, photographs, digitized artwork, short films, original musical compositions, spoken word recordings, and collaborative works. The size limits per submission this time are 3 poems, 4 images, 2 prose pieces at 1000 words maximum each, or any combination thereof.

The Editors

Poet, essayist, librettist and occasional radio commentator Ann E. Michael is also Writing Coordinator at DeSales University in eastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, most recently The Capable Heart (Foothills Publishing). An avid gardener and an advocate for the arts, she is a past recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in poetry. With Jessamyn Smyth, she edited qarrtsiluni’s New Classics issue, and we are delighted to have us with us again.

Ken Lamberton went to prison in Arizona in 1987, where he joined the creative writing workshop of poet and author Richard Shelton and began publishing articles and essays about two subjects he knew well: prison and the natural history of the Southwest. During his incarceration, his articles and essays began appearing in national magazines and literary journals such as Alligator Juniper, Puerto Del Sol, the Gettysburg Review, and David Quammen’s anthology The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000. In January 2000, Mercury House published his first book, Wilderness and Razor Wire: A Naturalist’s Observations from Prison, to critical acclaim. The book won the 2002 John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. After release from prison, he completed an MFA in creative writing at the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona Press has published four of his books, most recently Time of Grace: Thoughts on Nature, Family, and the Politics of Crime and Punishment (2007), which won a Soros Justice Fellowship, and Dry River: Stories of Life, Death, and Redemption on the Santa Cruz. He’s currently the managing editor of the prison journal Walking Rain Review.

Note to readers: the Translation issue is still a month from completion, and will resume serialization here on Monday.

Categories: Imprisonment Tags:

Call for Submissions: Translation

November 8, 2010 2 comments

The editors invite submissions of poetry, short fiction, essays, visual poetry, photography, artwork and video for a translation-themed issue. The deadline is December 6 December 31, and the issue will begin to appear online after the New Year. All submissions must be made via qarrtsiluni’s new submissions manager.

In addition to work translated into English, we encourage a universal interpretation, including though not limited to movement between and within cultural fields and from signifier (code, symbol, signal) to signified (message, meaning, transcription). Translation being inherent in all acts of writing/reading, both semantic and non-verbal, we are interested in short, non-academic essays relevant to such readings and mis-readings. Please also send adaptations, definitions, conversions, and homophonic translations. Text submissions should not exceed three poems or short prose pieces, or some combination thereof, for a maximum of three single-spaced pages in .doc or .rtf format.

For translations, include originals, permission status, and a bio for the original author as well as your own. Translations from any language are welcome. We look forward to reading or viewing your work.

—Nick Admussen, Nathalie Boisard-Beudin, Nick Carbó, Alex Cigale, and Ayesha Saldanha


Nick Admussen is a Ph. D. candidate in Chinese literature at Princeton University, preparing a dissertation on contemporary Chinese prose poetry.  His translations are forthcoming in Renditions, and have appeared in Cha magazine; his original poetry has appeared in magazines like the Boston Review and the Kenyon Review Online, and his first chapbook is due out this winter from Epiphany Editions.

Nathalie Boisard-Beudin is a middle aged French woman living in Rome, Italy. She has more hobbies than spare time, alas — reading, cooking, writing, painting and photography — so hopes that her technical colleagues at the European Space Agency will soon come up with a solution to that problem by stretching the fabric of time. Either that or send her up to write about the travels and trials of the International Space Station, the way this was done for the exploratory missions of old. Clearly the woman is a dreamer.

Nick Carbó is the author of El Grupo McDonald’s (1995), Secret Asian Man (2000), which won the Asian American Literary Award, and Andalusian Dawn (2004). He is the editor of three anthologies of Filipino literature: Pinoy Poetics (2004), Babaylan (2000), and Returning a Borrowed Tongue (1995).

Alex Cigale‘s poems recently appeared in The Cafe, Colorado, Global City, Green Mountains, and North American reviews, Gargoyle, Hanging Loose, Redactions, Tar River Poetry, 32 Poems, and Zoland Poetry, online in Contrary, Drunken Boat, H_ngm_n, McSweeney’s, and are forthcoming in Many Mountains Moving and St. Petersburg Review. His translations from the Russian can be found in Crossing Centuries: the New Generation in Russian Poetry, in The Manhattan, St. Ann’s, and Yellow Medicine reviews, online in OffCourse, Danse Macabre and Fiera Lingue, and forthcoming in Crab Creek Review and Modern Poetry in Translation. He was born in Chernovsty, Ukraine and lives in New York City.

Ayesha Saldanha is a writer and translator based in Bahrain. She has translated a wide range of Bahraini fiction and poetry. Some of her translations of Gulf poets will appear in Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry to be published by Garnet Publishing/Ithaca Press in 2011. She blogs as Bint Battuta.

Editors’ names link to their work in qarrtsiluni, where applicable.


This issue is a first for us in three respects: it will represent qarrtsiluni’s very first foray into publishing translations; it’s the first we’ve tried to work with a team of more than two issue editors; and it’s our first experiment with a real submissions management system. If you’ve submitted to other publications that use the same system, Submishmash, you’ll need to log in with the same username and password. Otherwise, you’ll create a new account as part of the submission process. Most of our general guidelines remain the same, and are included on the submissions page.

Please let us know via email (qarrtsiluni [at] if you experience any problems with the new system. We’re cautiously optimistic that it will help us keep better track of submissions, and we’re pretty certain that contributors will appreciate the ability to log on and see how their submissions are doing, but we’ll see how it goes. For more about the service, check out this interview with one of the lead developers.

We hope this call for submissions will prompt some imaginative responses from past contributors and expose us to the work of new authors and artists as well. Best of luck to all.

—Beth and Dave

Categories: Translation Tags:

Call for Submissions: The Crowd

June 1, 2010 4 comments

The crowd, the flock, the herd, the mob, the swarm, the tribe: we are simultaneously fascinated and repelled by this super-organism, capable at times of great beauty and even wisdom (cf. The Wisdom of Crowds) and at other times of appalling ugliness and violence. Aristotle defined humanity as an animal whose nature it is to live in a polis, but in all ages we seem incapable of deciding whether this is a good or bad thing; one commentator’s inspiring revolutionary struggle is another’s mob rule. For the next issue of qarrtsiluni, we are open to all perspectives, positive and negative, historical and biological, on crowds and other aggregations of social animals. Inspiration can be sought in the ecstasy and fervor of the stadium, the battalion, the game, the march, the final episode, the fad, the stampede — or the collective consciousness in general. With the planet’s burgeoning human population threatening to exceed our ecological carrying capacity, and so many crises now requiring urgent collective action, it seems imperative for artists and writers, so often antisocial ourselves and preoccupied with the struggles of individuals, to turn our attention to sociality in its most vital and basic form.

We welcome submissions from all genres that we regularly consider: poems (no more than five per submission, please), prose (no more than 1000 words per story or essay), photos, videos, or other digitized artwork. For this issue, we will also entertain suggestions for crowd-sourced compositions. Email us with a proposal, and you might find yourself in charge of a wiki or survey set up for the nonce.

As always, please refer to the general guidelines for complete details on how and what to submit. One big change: we have taken down our online contact form. Too many submissions have been lost that way in recent months.

There are no guest editors this time; we are editing this issue ourselves. (See the About page for our bios, if you’re interested in knowing just who you’re dealing with.) The deadline for submissions is June 30, and we expect to begin serializing the issue in August.

We hope to hear from you soon!

—Beth Adams and Dave Bonta

Categories: The Crowd Tags:

Call for Submissions: New Classics

March 1, 2010 4 comments

What is a classic? What does it mean to us?

In this issue of qarrtsiluni, which will begin publishing around May 1, we invite you to engage, interpret, revisit and re-invent classics through your own idiosyncratic and modern sensibility.

We’re looking for work inspired by the archetypes and forms of familiar pieces of art, sacred story, poetry, iconography or folk tales, but the term “classic” should be interpreted both broadly and internationally, and could certainly encompass contemporary work so familiar it has become part of our collective psyche.

Yes, Greek myth or Roman epic as archetype or inspiration for your own peculiar spin, but also: Sundiata, Pride and Prejudice, Andy Warhol paintings, Basho’s haiku, the Green Man, the VW Bug, Frankenstein, Tiamat, The Dhammapada, rock and roll, Anansi tales, banshees, Sedna, avatars turned online/gaming identity, fox woman, Nero Wolfe, creation stories, 1950’s creature features — surprise us with something we can’t help but recognize, even as we’ve never seen it put to your uses.

Transform, transpose, transgender, trans-border our expectations with your wholly familiar, yet wholly new, take on a classic.

We’re open to any forms, including cross-genre. Flash fiction/very short stories are especially welcome (1,000 words or under). Please send no more than three poems or photographs, and only one video, at a time. As always, be sure to refer to the general guidelines before submitting. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

Looking forward!

—Ann E. Michael and Jessamyn Smyth, guest editors


Poet, essayist, librettist and occasional radio commentator Ann E. Michael (website) is also a college educator/tutor in eastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, an avid gardener, and an advocate for the arts.

Jessamyn Johnston Smyth’s writing (website) has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Red Rock Review (forthcoming), Nth Position, Abalone Moon, qarrtsiluni, and other journals and anthologies. She won listing in Best American Short Stories/100 Distinguished Stories of 2005, and has received a Pushcart Prize nomination, a Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference grant, a Vermont Community Foundation Artist Grant, and a writing grant from Change, Incorporated. Jessamyn has just finished a collection written during a year spent in the forest, and is working on placing Green Mountain Prose Poem. She has several other books in progress.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

Call for Submissions: Health

November 1, 2009 9 comments

We’re pleased to announce that submissions are open for the winter issue, which will begin publishing after the New Year. The theme this time is Health, broadly defined, and the editors are Susan Elbe and Kelly Madigan Erlandson (the links go to their works here at qarrtsiluni; see below for more about them). We’re having the submission period now, in November, to avoid the busy holiday season. The deadline is November 30th. As always, please refer to the How to Contribute page for general submission guidelines (and note that there have been several minor changes).

The editors have chosen a theme that should resonate far beyond the current health care debate in the United States:

We are interested in creative interpretations of health, which will of course include the health (or lack thereof) of the human body, but also of the mind and spirit, the environment, or the culture. How systems stay in balance, how one attains wellness, how we relate or respond to our own state of health and the health of others, and the extent of an individual’s physical, emotional, mental, and social ability to cope with his/her environment would all be fair game. Unusual health-related practices also intrigue us (serpents? psychic surgery?) as well as tales of spontaneous recovery. How much control do we have over our own health? Explore superstitions, regale us with symptoms, or simply make a well-written toast to our health — we’ll consider it. Keep in mind too that the etymological roots of health include “whole” and “hale,” but also “holy.”

Our limit is three poems or one prose piece per submission, with a 1,200-word limit on the prose.

Both editors hail from the American Midwest, and they’ve been friends for years. Susan Elbe is the author of Eden in the Rearview Mirror (Word Press) and a chapbook, Light Made from Nothing (Parallel Press). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including Blackbird, diode, MARGIE, North American Review, Ocho, Salt Hill, Smartish Pace, and A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-five Years of Women’s Poetry (Calyx Books). Among her awards are the inaugural Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize (Calyx), the 2006 Lorine Niedecker Award, and fellowships to Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Susan has served on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and currently serves on the Council for Wisconsin Writers Board. You can learn more about her and her work at

Kelly Madigan Erlandson is the author of Getting Sober: A Practical Guide to Making it Through the First 30 Days (McGraw-Hill). Her poems, stories and essays have appeared in Best New Poets 2007, Crazyhorse, The Massachusetts Review, Plains Song Review, and Prairie Schooner. She has been a writer-in-residence at Jentel Artist Residency Program and the KHN Center for the Arts. Kelly was awarded the Distinguished Artist Award in Literature from the Nebraska Arts Council in 2006, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2008. She has worked as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in Nebraska since 1983. Visit her website at


Don’t forget to join the qarrtsiluni news group on Google if you want to receive these announcements via email. We’d also like to emphasize something we mention in the general guidelines which some contributors seem to overlook: if you don’t receive an acknowledgment note within two days after you send something, assume that we didn’t get it and re-submit. If you still don’t hear anything, try sending from another email. If you’re submitting via the Contact form, please be sure to type your email address correctly. Sometimes we can find the correct address by Googling, but there was one guy who submitted to the current issue who we never were able to track down — and we wanted to publish his essay, too! Finally, please make sure your email is set to accept messages from qarrtsiluni(at)gmail(dot)com. Getting an automatic reply telling us we have to jump through extra hoops to communicate with authors makes us very grouchy indeed.

If this is the first you’ve visited the site in a while, be sure to check out all the great stuff we’ve been posting for the Words of Power issue — and stick around, because there’s much more on the way. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

—Beth and Dave

Download the podcast
Music: “Solo Fumo Yerba,” by Doctor Inferno — find more of their music at the Internet Archive

This episode of the podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike licence, in conformity with the requirements for using a “share alike” work.

Categories: Health Tags:

Call for Submissions: Words of Power

July 29, 2009 16 comments

In magic, to have said is to have done.
Eliphas Levi

Again this fall we’re taking the helm ourselves, not for want of volunteer guest editors, but because we had such a blast with last fall’s Journaling the Apocalypse issue that we resolved to do it every year if possible. The submissions period is from August 1 to August 31, and publication will begin around September 15.

This time we’re looking for words of power: curses, spells, charms, prayers, incantations, mantras, sacred scriptures, explicit performative utterances, oaths, or legal instruments. Submissions may consist entirely of such super-charged language, or may riff upon or explore such language. Submissions of visual art may of course take a more figurative approach to the topic; images of amulets and other power-objects, for example, would be welcome. But otherwise we urge contributors not to interpret the theme too broadly. Please don’t just send us a piece of writing that you think is powerful according to some subjective evaluation. We’re looking quite specifically for language freighted with mana and/or executive force, or writing about that kind of language. If you’re not sure whether something qualifies, feel free to query.

Please limit written material to no more than five items per submission, with individual pieces not exceeding 3,000 words. Please refer to the general guidelines before submitting, and note especially the recommendation to query us if we don’t acknowledge receipt within two days — occasional server hiccups and email glitches are a fact of life on the internet.

We look forward to reading your words of power with an unusual admixture of excitement and trepidation. This issue could be a real test of our editorial juju!

—Dave and Beth

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

Call for Submissions: Economy

May 1, 2009 2 comments

Happy May Day! We’re pleased to announce that submissions are open for a new qarrtsiluni issue: Economy. The guest editors this time are Anna Dickie and Pamela Hart, and we’ll let them explain.

Economy has its roots in Greek — oikos and nomos — meaning the principles necessary to maintain the household. It’s a thoughtful word. The study of economics, until the 18th century, was a branch of philosophy.

And it’s the word of the moment. It dominates the evening news. It’s determining how we spend or save; whether we remain in our homes, keep our jobs. It has governments around the globe cutting, bailing and re-thinking spending plans. It’s full of associations: think Wall Street bull or bear or greed. Think sub prime mortgage. Then there’s the technical jargon: quantitative easing, collateralized debt obligation and the fallacy of composition all seem ready for metaphor.

With this in mind, we urge you to think broadly, associatively and imaginatively about this touchstone word. Consider economy of movement, expression or effort. Think fuel, cash or gift economy. In your investigation, remember the epigram and the epitaph, both concerned with the economics of composition. Think about how the subject might inform style, as well as content.

However, don’t be burdened by the word’s current negative connotations. For Hannah More, a 19th century British religious writer and philanthropist, the word resounded with hope. She described “the economy of the heart, which saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.”

Whatever medium you choose to work in, be it words, photography, music or video, make economy earn its keep to deliver a piece that nails thought, character, place or plot. As Anne Carson wrote in Economy of the Unlost, “Economy is a trope of intellectual, aesthetic and moral value.”

The deadline for submissions will be May 31, and the issue will begin appearing on the site in June. Please limit submissions of poetry to five poems, and keep essays and stories below 1,000 words. See our How to Contribute page for guidelines.

The editors are, as usual, both past contributors to qarrtsiluni (click on their names to view their contributions here). Anna Dickie is a photographer based in East Lothian, Scotland. In the last three years she’s won or been short-listed in a number of competitions, including having a shot hung in the Scottish Parliament as part of a touring exhibition on the theme of coastal erosion. She also writes poetry, and has had two chapbooks published: Peeling Onions, a series poem about coming through a cancer diagnosis, and Heart Notes, just published by Calder Wood Press. She blogs at My (Elastic) Gap Year.

Pamela Hart is a former journalist. Her chapbook The End of the Body was recently published by toadlily press. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as, Rattapallax, Lumina and Kalliope. She is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art and teaches writing at Long Island University’s Graduate School of Education. She blogs at A Walk Around the Lake.


In other news, we’re just wrapping up Mutating the Signature, our longest and most stylistically diverse issue to date. If you haven’t yet taken the time to browse through this marvelously varied showcase of collaborative writing and artwork, you have a real treat in store for you. And you’ll have some time to do it, now, because we don’t expect to start publishing the next issue until June 1. In the meantime, we’ll be hard at work on the Mutating podcast and print edition, so look for those as well. And we hope you’ll take advantage of this brief hiatus in your daily qarrtsiluni reading to prepare a submission for Economy — and maybe finish up an economy-sized collection of poems for our chapbook contest, too!

—Beth Adams and Dave Bonta

Categories: Economy Tags:

Call for Submissions: Mutating the Signature

December 1, 2008 8 comments

With our group I think it’s never been super easy to write new songs mainly because all four of us contribute to the writing, so each piece kind of has to run a gauntlet with each member taking whacks at the thing. A great majority of the songs don’t survive the hazing, but we do work really hard at pushing ourselves to a different space each time — we kind of like trying to mutate the signature.
— Guy Picciotto, Fugazi

Some artistic pursuits — film, music, theater, glass-making — require more than one participant. Others — such as poems, short stories and paintings — seem to demand solitary struggle. To put forth the notion that a group might write a sonnet or paint a portrait is to invite conflict with established views of the artist and artistic creation. We recognize and celebrate the possibilities that this conflict offers. To assume certain arts must solely, and by definition, be the product of a singular, lonely process is to be arbitrarily cut off from the vital promise of collaboration.

The first qarrtsiluni theme for 2009 is “Mutating the Signature,” with guest editors Dana Guthrie Martin and Nathan Moore. We’re issuing the call for submissions now, a month before the end of the current issue, because of the extra work involved in preparing a submission. The deadline is January 15, and the issue will run from January through March if we get enough material. What Nathan and Dana are asking contributors to do is work collaboratively to hone and shape their submissions, and also to submit process notes:

We define collaborative work as two or more writers working on a specific written piece, a writer and an artist working together on an ekphrastic piece, or two or more artists working together on a piece of visual art. In short, we want submissions where two or more contributors are actively working together. We are not interested in passive collaborations, such as pulling a photo off the internet and writing a poem in response to it. All parties involved in the collaboration should be working together in the creation of the final piece.

Because process is so important to collaboration, for this issue, we are asking that you share process notes in addition to your submissions. How did you work together to create the piece? What stumbling blocks did you encounter? What survived the hazing, what didn’t, and why? How did you feel your signature was mutated by those with whom you were collaborating? What did you learn from the experience? In this way not only do we get the finished piece, but we get the swing of the hammer and the rasp of the saw as well.

With this issue of qarrtsiluni, we want to emphasize the gnarly, brilliant, iterative, process-oriented mess that is the heart of any collaborative artistic endeavor. We hope you will join us.

Please limit submissions of poetry to five poems. Essays and stories should be less than 3,000 words, and process notes should be less than 500 words. We will continue our pattern of publishing audio versions of text pieces, and will work with authors after acceptance to produce such recordings. But we also welcome submissions of audio — for example, combinations of original music and spoken word. And video is another medium that seems ideal for creative collaboration. Please see our general guidelines for details on how to submit.

The editors for this issue have collaborated extensively on poetry over the past six months, publishing the results on their respective blogs as well as on The Poetry Collaborative site, which Dana took the lead role in launching earlier this year. This marks her second editing stint for qarrtsiluni — she also edited our Hidden Messages issue a year ago with co-editor Carey Wallace. Three of her poems have appeared in past issues of qarrtsiluni, one of them a collaboration with filmmaker Donna Kuhn, and her poems have also been published in Boxcar Poetry Review, Coconut, Fence, Failbetter and Weave Magazine, among others.

Nathan Moore is a newcomer to qarrtsiluni; we have a poem he co-authored with Dana in the publication queue for the current issue. He is a father of three, a poet and a painter. He spent seven years working full time in a photograph factory while getting an undergraduate degree in English literature at Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania, then spent the next six years working on a master’s degree and Ph.D. in English at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. In 2000 he found The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and left the academy. He writes a weekly collaborative prompt feature for Read Write Poem.

— Dave Bonta and Beth Adams

Update/Afterthought: If you need help finding a collaboration partner, feel free to use the comments thread to post a “wanted” notice.

Afterthought #2: Tools for long-distance textual collaboration include Google Docs (which we use at qarrtsiluni) and the brand-new TextFlow.

%d bloggers like this: