Honoring the Promise: The Quarterly in 2021

Submission Opportunities for 2021!

In May and June of 2020, I sat in my house, watching as news reports of protests and unrest streamed in from all over the country. I felt the same way many Black folx at the time felt: helpless.

Yes, we could go to the streets, risk infection (which is impacting us and our Indigenous siblings at a higher rate than the dominant culture) and possible imprisonment or death.

We could write our poems and our stories and our essays, expending emotional labor for our own healing but also for the culture.

We could stay silent and try to take care of ourselves, while white people stay apologizing and “checking in” on us and promising things will be better when we have a different President, or a new law, or a reformed whatever — but don’t worry, they aren’t racist or sexist or homophobic or dangerous in any way because they are woke.

There were plenty of options for me this past summer as a Black cis woman. The easiest thing would have been to say nothing and try not to die from COVID-19, try to prepare for my fall semester for my students, and try to keep my emotional health intact for my family, friends, and lovers.

And, what does The Fray say? “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” (I am from Colorado, after all.)

So, instead of doing nothing, or doing the bare minimum, I tried action. I resigned from an important taskforce at my university, one focused on action regarding diversity and inclusion on campus, because it felt traumatizing to be in the room with respected colleagues who had (maybe unknowingly) perpetrated harm against my students, faculty, and staff of color and myself while supporting diversity and inclusion efforts. I watched TV without folks of color. I read books by writers of color. I cleaned my house. I got committed to my partner. I prepped our summer issue of the Quarterly. I promised next year would be different.

But, as I am a woman of color in a position of power at SFWP, I was called upon to write our solidarity statement for the press. And it hurt to write. It took too long. I cried while writing it — not because I was lying, but because I was tired of having to defend institutions of white supremacy: universities, publishing houses, my own literary community.

No one else could write it. I wouldn’t have let anyone else do it. Not without skin in the game, as they say. Money isn’t the same thing as stake. I was the person of color with power. It was my job.

It’s a good statement. It’s not a solidarity statement; more like a promise to do better. To sign more authors of color. To promote more diversity across our publishing catalog. To not let the trauma of tokenism harm the future of this press. And that requires action.

So, while I deserted the taskforce at my university, I haven’t deserted SFWP. I want more diversity — for my own sake, but also for the sake of writers like me who are so frequently the only one when it comes to readings, performances, publications, and listings. This year, so many writers of color won major prestigious awards; many were the first folx of color to do so. I’m tired of celebrating the first of Black people, of trans people, of women, of Native people, of any historically marginalized population in this country or another imperialist state. I don’t want to write another line about a first in a system we didn’t create, that wasn’t built for us, or wasn’t ever meant to include us.

Oscars, Pulitzers, Nobel Prizes, Pushcarts, Presidencies. Just choose.

If this is what writers of color are up against, then SFWP needs to do the work of the organizations built for writers of color. The best way to diversify the publishing industry is to do the work — create the opportunities, remove the barriers. It’s that simple.

We have four issues coming out for the SFWP Quarterly in 2021: February 1, May 1, July 1, and October 1. We’re only accepting marginalized writers for these issues. See the info below.

The point here is we believe in practicing what we preach, performing action alongside statements, and accepting that when a press is run by primary-white folks, they might not recognize the ways in which they perpetuate white supremacy and the dominant culture. Doesn’t make them evil; just means we all need to do better.

Share these links and calls with your networks. We want your words. Remember Issue 18, our special Abortion Ban Protest issue? Think like that, but bigger, and louder, and about even more intersecting identities.

Let’s do this work together. I want to look back on my work with SFWP as some of the proudest. Thus far, I feel good about it. I bet I could feel even better about it.

 

Monica Prince, the managing editor for SFWP, teaches activist and performance writing at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman: A Choreopoem ([PANK], 2020), Instructions for Temporary Survival (Red Mountain Press, 2019), and Letters from the Other Woman (Grey Book Press, 2018). She is the co-author of the suffrage play, A Pageant of Agitating Women, with Anna Andes. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, The Texas Review, MadCap Review, American Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter and check out her website.


Issue 24 (February 1, 2021): BIPOC Writers ONLY

The SFWP Quarterly Issue 24, released February 1, 2021, will only feature writers of color.

We invite writers who identify as non-white to submit their poetry, prose, and hybrid works for this issue. We usually don’t publish poetry, but we also usually don’t publish more than 10 pieces per issue, and usual is what landed us here in the first place, right?

Submission window: October 24, 2020 – December 31, 2020
(If you miss the deadline for this, just submit to one of the other issues! We’re looking for BIPOC writers for the entire year!)

THEME: Pleasure

What do we mean by pleasure? Think about Audre Lorde’s definition of the uses of the Erotic. Or things that feel good to you (waking up late, yoga, canceling plans, etc.). Or sex, if that feels good to you. Or guilty pleasures (that you don’t feel that guilty about). Or joy. Or happiness. Or that painful catharsis that comes from deep despair being felt honestly, fully, and without judgement — that’s pleasure, too.

What are we looking for:

  • Poetry — no more than 3 poems, any length, form, style, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your poems follow these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Prose — no more than 5,000 words, any form, style, genre. We love science fiction, fantasy, literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, literary fiction, fractured fairy tales, retellings, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your prose follows these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Hybrid — no more than 3,000 words, any form, style, genre, written (mostly) in English. No translations at this time. We love comics (graphic essays/short stories, poem comics, works that use illustration, etc.), choreopoems, and even ten-minute plays. If you’re unsure if your submission follows these guidelines, submit anyway.

Collaborations welcome! (As long as all collaborators identify as non-white.)


Issue 25 (May 1, 2021): QTPOC/LGBTQ++ Writers ONLY

The SFWP Quarterly Issue 25, released May 1, 2021, will only feature LGBTQ++ writers, especially queer and trans people of color (QTPOC).

We invite writers who identify within the LGBTQ++ umbrella to submit their poetry, prose, and hybrid works for this issue. We especially encourage writers within the QTPOC umbrella. We usually don’t publish poetry, but we also usually don’t publish more than 10 pieces per issue, and usual is what landed us here in the first place, right? (At SFWP, we believe that all queer identities are valid, including but not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, asexual, pansexual, demisexual, aromatic, polyamorous, Two Spirit, and others.)

Submission window: October 24, 2020 – March 31, 2021
(If you miss the deadline for this, just submit to one of the other issues! We’re looking for BIPOC writers for the entire year!)

THEME: Unmaking/Remaking

What do we mean by unmaking/remaking? Think about building a self or a shelf. Constructing an identity or a life with another (or more than one other). Tearing down a structure or a friendship. Healing a broken heart or a broken system. Dismantling white supremacy or IKEA furniture for a move. Making cookies from scratch or making love at midnight. We believe in your imaginations.

What are we looking for:

  • Poetry — no more than 3 poems, any length, form, style, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your poems follow these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Prose — no more than 5,000 words, any form, style, genre. We love science fiction, fantasy, literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, literary fiction, fractured fairy tales, retellings, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your prose follows these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Hybrid — no more than 3,000 words, any form, style, genre, written (mostly) in English. No translations at this time. We love comics (graphic essays/short stories, poem comics, works that use illustration, etc.), choreopoems, and even ten-minute plays. If you’re unsure if your submission follows these guidelines, submit anyway.

Collaborations welcome! (As long as all collaborators identify within the LGBTQ++ umbrella.)


Issue 26 (July 1, 2021): Writers with Disabilities ONLY

Keeping with this promise, the SFWP Quarterly Issue 26, released July 1, 2021, will only feature writers with disabilities, perceived or hidden, especially writers who also identify as writers of color, as part of the LGBTQ++ community, or both! In fact, every issue of 2021 will feature writers of intersecting marginalized identities.

We invite writers with disabilities, perceived or hidden, to submit their poetry, prose, and hybrid works for this issue. We especially encourage writers with disabilities who also identify as writers of color and/or as part of the LGBTQ++ community. We usually don’t publish poetry, but we also usually don’t publish more than 10 pieces per issue, and usual is what landed us here in the first place, right? (At SFWP, we believe that a disability doesn’t have to be obvious or documented to exist. Whether you receive academic accommodations or government assistance for your disability, or simply live life differently due to its presence in your life, your experience is valid and it matters.)

Submission window: October 24, 2020 – May 31, 2021
(If you miss the deadline for this, just submit to one of the other issues! We’re looking for diverse writers for the entire year!)

THEME: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership? Think about buying a home or advocating for yourself. Quitting an unpaid internship or freeing enslaved people. Starting a nonprofit or finishing a project. Go as big as owning a nation to as precise as owning a pet. We believe in your imaginations.

What are we looking for:

  • Poetry — no more than 3 poems, any length, form, style, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your poems follow these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Prose — no more than 5,000 words, any form, style, genre. We love science fiction, fantasy, literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, literary fiction, fractured fairy tales, retellings, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your prose follows these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Hybrid — no more than 3,000 words, any form, style, genre, written (mostly) in English. No translations at this time. We love comics (graphic essays/short stories, poem comics, works that use illustration, etc.), choreopoems, and even ten-minute plays. If you’re unsure if your submission follows these guidelines, submit anyway.

Collaborations welcome! (As long as all collaborators identify as living with a disability.)


Issue 27 (October 1, 2021): Unpublished Marginalized Writers ONLY

Keeping with this promise, the SFWP Quarterly Issue 27, released October 1, 2021, will only feature marginalized writers who have never been published before, especially unpublished writers living with disabilities, perceived or hidden, writers of color, writers part of the LGBTQ++ community, or all three! In fact, every issue of 2021 will feature writers of intersecting marginalized identities.

We invite marginalized unpublished writers to submit their poetry, prose, and hybrid works for this issue. We especially encourage unpublished writers living with disabilities, those who also identify as writers of color, and/or as part of the LGBTQ++ community. We usually don’t publish poetry, but we also usually don’t publish more than 10 pieces per issue, and usual is what landed us here in the first place, right? (At SFWP, we love being the first step in a writer’s career!)

Submission window: October 24, 2020 – August 1, 2021

THEME: The Body

What do we mean by the body? Consider your body, the body of your lover, your pet’s body, bodies of water, phantom bodies, the body electric, the act of bodying, body brokering (that’s one of our publications!), a body in movement, a body in stasis, leaving one’s body, body to body, breaking into the body through surgery, assault, or sex, remaking a body through diet, exercise, illness, or medical intervention, bodies under experimentation, bodies without autonomy, bodies sold, bodies glorified, bodies loved. We believe in you.

What are we looking for:

  • Poetry — no more than 3 poems, any length, form, style, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your poems follow these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Prose — no more than 5,000 words, any form, style, genre. We love science fiction, fantasy, literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, literary fiction, fractured fairy tales, retellings, written in (mostly) English. No translations at this time. If you’re unsure if your prose follows these guidelines, submit anyway.
  • Hybrid — no more than 3,000 words, any form, style, genre, written (mostly) in English. No translations at this time. We love comics (graphic essays/short stories, poem comics, works that use illustration, etc.), choreopoems, and even ten-minute plays. If you’re unsure if your submission follows these guidelines, submit anyway.

Collaborations welcome! (As long as all collaborators have never been previously published.)

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