Ecotone 31: The Climate Issue
“Let them not say: we did not see it.
Let them not say: we did not hear it.
—Jane Hirshfield, “Let Them Not Say” (Academy of American Poets)
What is the climate showing you where you live? What weather do you see, what change do you hear? What are the maps we need to put aside, the maps we need to make? What are a climate’s ways of knowing?
Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would help create “a more sustainable and equitable society,” the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in 2018—but to do so “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
What new practices of writing, making, and being are required in response to the ongoing fight for climate justice and for social justice? What changes might those practices create in the world? For Ecotone’s fall/winter 2021 issue, we seek work on the theme of climate. Especially if you are part of a community most affected by environmental harms, we’d like to hear what the weather is like where you are—and how you’d like it to be. As Ayana Elizabeth Johnson recently wrote,
Whether it’s Hurricane Katrina or air pollution, storms and exposure to toxins cause much greater harm to communities of color. . . So it follows that if we’re thinking about how to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, we must focus on the people who are actually the most impacted. And we must understand that it is people from their own communities who are best equipped to lead them. —“We Can’t Solve the Climate Crisis Unless Black Lives Matter,” in Time
Both explicit and subtle engagements with the theme of climate are welcome. As ever, we are open to a broad range of interpretations: in addition to climate crisis, we’re interested in regional climates, the social and cultural climates created in specific spaces, interior climates—of homes, of minds. We hope this issue will help us, readers and writers both, transcend the hope-despair binary, as Aimee Nezhukumatathil does in her essay from our Sustenance Issue, “Insistent Needles: On Reading Ellen Bass’s ‘Birdsong from My Patio.’” We want work that aids people in seeing clearly from and beyond their primary perspectives, as Meera Subramanian does in her essay “United in Change,” from Orion. We’re looking for fiction that is as real as it gets, though we don’t mind work that veers toward the speculative, either. We want personal essays that engage smartly and surprisingly with scientific research, and poems that buoy us, push us, light us up, ready us for deeper work. We are interested in heart and mind, but not in didacticism.
Both systemic and individual change are necessary to this work, as Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac note in The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis. They also remind us:
Optimism is not soft, it is gritty. Every day brings dark news, and no end of people tell us that the world is going to hell. To take the low road is to succumb. To take the high road is to remain constant in the face of uncertainty. That we may be confronted by barriers galore should not surprise anyone. That we may see worsening climate conditions in the short term should also not surprise us. We have to elect to boldly persevere.
We want to hear how you, or your characters, are persevering, or struggling; about the people and creatures and plants and structures and weather that make your home, and may help unmake systemic violence. We want to hear about ice and dirt and hope and radiators and statistics, about hands and generations and tempering. What doesn’t surprise you? What does?
From January 20 to 25, 2021, we will open to fee-free submissions from BIPOC writers only. From January 26 to February 2, we will be open to submissions from all, and as usual, during that window, current subscribers may submit with no fee. Please review our complete submission guidelines, and see recent issues of Ecotone to get a sense of what we do.
Past calls for work
For this unthemed issue, the editors seek poetry, stories, and essays that engage with place in nuanced ways. Work submitted to Ecotone is considered for all upcoming issues, unthemed and themed. Please see our regular guidelines for more detail.
Ecotone 29: The Garden Issue
“To be native to a place we must learn to speak its language,” writes Robin Wall Kimmerer. In the space of Ecotone’s twenty-nine issues, contributors have introduced us to a multitude of places, and a multitude of means for tending and stewardship. For Issue 30, we want to hear about gardens, be they literal or metaphorical.
What do you tend? Where do you find green? We’re interested in permaculture and flower clocks, pollinators and pesticides, heirlooms and hybrids, plant poetics, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, flower reports, community gardens, food deserts, citizen science, ecological anthropology. And don’t forget seeds—seed saving, seed banks and libraries, seeds carried across seas in the lining of people’s clothing.
We’d like to see more nonfiction that delves into ecology, botany, entomology; we want stories that show us the effort and reward of gardening; we do love a good flower poem, and a bee poem is not bad either.
We’re excited to see work that explores gardens as sites for activism: community gardens and anti–food desert efforts to resist genetic modification and industrial agriculture, responses to the Green Revolution, work to preserve Indigenous knowledge of and relationships with the plant world. Think of Ross Gay’s “A Small Needful Fact,” Alexander Chee’s “The Rosary,” Samanta Schweblin’s “Fever Dream.” How are politics, pollution, and climate crisis changing our gardens? What’s the difference between farming and gardening? How do gender and race intersect with gardening?
We hope to see work on many scales—our planet and universe as gardens; soil microbiomes; the gardening done by leaf-cutter ants.
Jean Ritchie sings, “All this Earth is a garden.” Does that ring true for you? Does your faith tradition or philosophy advocate for tending Earth like a garden, or for letting it be its wild self as much as possible? Given the extent of human intervention, what can wild mean?
We can’t wait to see what you cultivate. Be sure to review our complete submission guidelines here.
Ecotone 28: The Love Issue
“We must shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all.”
—Reverend William Barber
“The Reverend Dr. William Barber II: Reviving the Heart of Our Democracy,” Beacon Broadside, July 29, 2016
“Love is essentially self-communicative; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response which, in itself, is the nature of love.
True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It goes on gathering power and spreading itself until eventually it transforms everyone it touches.”
—Avatar Meher Baba
Discourses, 7th ed, pp. 8–9, Sheriar Foundation, 1995
“geohaptics (geo: relating to the earth; haptics: relating to the sense of touch): describes the extreme intimacy of ecological entanglement, via the air, water, and matter we take in and continually re-become. The nature of this contact is closer than any other as it touches the body at every moment. . . . Akin to Tennyson’s description of God as ‘closer . . . than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet’ (oft cited by Timothy Morton) and e. e. cummings’s description of his lover ‘whose most frail gesture are things which enclose me, / or which I cannot touch because they are too near.’”
Counterdesecration: A Glossary for Writing within the Anthropocene, edited by Linda Russo and Marthe Reed, p. 39, Wesleyan University Press, 2018
“Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”
December 15, 1964; in Peanuts: A Golden Celebration, edited by David Larkin, p. 56, Harper Collins, 1999
“Love is not consolation, it is light.”
Gravity and Grace, tr. Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr, Routledge Classics, 2002, p. 14
As we prepare for Ecotone’s twenty-eighth issue, we’re thinking a lot about love, in its infinite varieties and permutations. It’s an old subject, but we’re sure there’s more to be said. We’re interested in work that explores the less visible kinds of love, romantic as well as the not-necessarily-romantic.
We invite submitters to look beyond their closest human relationships to the natural, the spiritual, and the beyond-human—to a love of a plant, a building, a tool; to a love of your generative spaces; to biophilia, geophilia, topophilia, and even, yes, bibliophilia. We want, too, to hear about the loves you don’t hear much about and the loves between people you don’t hear enough about.
We’re seeking the messiest, most magical, most taken-for-granted kinds of love. We want extravagance, minimalism, humor, irony, trouble-making. We’re inspired by poems like Alice Oswald’s “Wedding” and Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude; by nonfiction like Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s “A River Runs Through It”; and by fiction like Helen Oyeyemi’s What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West: work that is at once delightful and complicated and shows love, in its broadest and smallest definitions, in ways we haven’t seen it before. In our own archives, we’re looking back to work such as Lynne Thompson’s poem “Siren” in issue 20, Blake Sanz’s story “¡Hablamos!” in issue 22, and Anna Maria Hong’s essay “Brute Blood” in Issue 25. Those are just a few examples—as ever, we encourage submitters to read a past issue before sending work. Back issues are available at ecotonemagazine.org/magazine/archives.
In honor of our fourteenth year of publication (also, happy Valentine’s Day!) we’re particularly interested in seeing fresh examples of the sonnet, the rondel prime, and the bref double. Formal invention and noniambic meters are encouraged, but show us your metrical skills (particularly with noniambic meters!), and bring out your fancy rhyme schemes, however slant. All kinds of sonnets are welcome: Petrarchan, Shakespearean, Spenserian. What’s new to say with these forms? We want to hear it.
Note: We will consider work sent during this window both for Love and for upcoming unthemed issues.
And one more note: There’s plenty of gratuitous and cynical writing on this subject already. Such submissions are discouraged.
Send us all your love!
All our love,
Ecotone 26: The Body Issue: For our fall 2018 issue, the editors invite writing about and from the body. We interpret this theme expansively. We are interested in any body, human or beyond human.
Please send work that is traditional or experimental, but above all, excellently made. To ensure that we are able to consider your submission, please review our complete guidelines before sending it.
Submissions open on August 17, 2017, and close on September 1, 2018. We will consider work sent during this window both for Body and for upcoming unthemed issues.
Ecotone 24: The Craft Issue
For Ecotone’s fall 2017 issue, the editors invite writing on craft. We seek work that explores craftsmanship of all kinds, that exhibits its own craftiness, makes us think about the act of making in new ways. Some possible considerations:
Craft shaped by place; place shaped by craft—how our inner and outer environments influence how, what, and why we create.
Guilds and apprenticeships. Sewing circles and solitary work. So-called high craft and so-called low. Craft as and in companionship. Craft as community.
State fairs. The fiction, history, poetics of witchcraft. Craft and technology. Making and destruction. Form and function, beauty and ugliness. Spacecraft, aircraft, watercraft.
Gender and craft. Race and craft. Queerness and craft. Craft traditions under threat (by lack of attention or too much of it), and traditions in the process of being revived.
Craft as resistance. Craft as activism.
Metalsmithing, embroidery, signpainting; cocktails, baking, fermentation; amphibrachs, bops, Oulipian constraints.
Rhetorical strategy. Ars poetica. The craft of writing. Of editing.
Craft as a means of resilience, of cultural and bodily survival.
Cleverness, craftiness, smarts. The narrative possibilities thereof. The clues for keeping on therein.
We need your craft now, writers. Please send work that is traditional or experimental, but above all, excellently made. To ensure that we are able to consider your submission, please review our complete guidelines before sending it. We may read with unthemed issues in mind as well; still, if you are thinking craftwise, be sure to mention the theme in your cover letter.
Ecotone 22: Country and City
Submissions open through May 1, 2016
For Ecotone‘s fall 2016 issue, Country and City, we invite writing that explores rural and urban spaces, and the places between them. Where do you find your wild—or wildish—places? What does it mean to be local to either, or to both? We welcome submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that explore how our notions of place might change based on where we live. Work about permaculture, pollution, poverty, rural culture, urban farming. Public art, sprawl, the homesteading movement, gentrification, environmental justice; waste management, transit systems, neighborhoods, community centers; post offices, prisons, urban legends, utopian communities. The ways both country and city have been romanticized, idealized, vilified. The possibilities each holds—whether you consider them opposing camps or part of a grand continuum.
The editors welcome poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that engage with these concerns and more. Be sure to mention the theme in your cover letter. To ensure that we can consider your work, review our complete guidelines before submitting.
Special reading period September 15–25: Metrical submissions
Ecotone will be open from September 15 to September 25 to submissions of metrical poetry only. For our Sound issue, we want to include work that experiments with the vast possibilities meter has to offer—accentual work, amphibrachs, dipodic meter, everything between.
We are particularly keen to read work in meters other than iambic.
We are equally interested in accentual and accentual-syllabic work.
Although a little humor is fine with us, we don’t generally run light verse.
This category will be open in Submittable from September 15 to 25. Postal submissions postmarked between September 15 and 28 (a Monday) are also welcome. We welcome a wide range of voices, and look forward to reading your work.