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A special call for submissions from Boston Review's poetry editors:
The future is unthinkable. Yet here we are, thinking it.
Coexisting, we are thinking future existence.
—Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence
What happens when interdependence and proximity, rather than the opposition of human and nature, or of self and other, engender what we call ecopoetry? What happens when ecopoetry shifts its focus from the past and what is lost and looks through its fingers at what lies ahead? Boston Review’s editors seek submissions for the upcoming poetry forum What Nature, a collection of poems and short prose that confront the problems with ecopoetics—its pitfalls, circumspections, and underpinnings—as they assist us into the future, however unthinkable.
Too often ecopoetic approaches are wittingly or unwittingly downstream of Romantic currents that carry manifest destinies in their wake, or they get caught on the prongs of divisions between human and non-human, civilization and nature, neighbor and stranger, with consequent hierarchies that occlude the realities of the suffering of all species. How do poets revivify a wild long-blind to sociality? How can we uncover what ecopoetries might elide, overlook, distort, or erase? Poetry taking up the mantle of ecopoetics often ignores the fact that environmental degradation has and will continue to have greater impacts on marginalized communities, that climate change disproportionately imperils the poorest and least visible. We are interested in work that seeks to awaken readers to the real urgency of environmental degradation in an un- (or de-) sentimentalized way, without forsaking the enhancements and intensification that poetry makes possible. We seek work that takes on the challenges of expanding collective imaginations—to encompass the consequences of humankind's continued irresponsibilities, its disregard and failure to take seriously the path to catastrophe we are on.
Our epoch of ecological disaster, argues multispecies theorist Donna Haraway, “requires sym-poiesis, or making-with, rather than auto-poiesis, or self-making.” For this forum, we are calling for poems, short prose, and hybrid-genre pieces that generate “sympoetic” approaches to crises in natural and cultural ecosystems—to environmental degradation, political unrest at the site of exploited resources, refugeeism where political oppression has exacerbated dearth, and the racial imaginary in the landscape.
We are especially interested in writing that opens spaces for intersectional thinking about ecologies, work by Native writers and writers of color, queerings of ecoliterary practices, work that enfolds questions of disability, and work by writers from diverse regions and locations.
Submit up to 10 pages of writing. The submission period is open until October 15, 2017.
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