Call for Submissions: Poems of Provocation, Activism, and Witness
Deadline: February 5, 2018
The Deaf Poets Society is partnering with Split This Rock, a D.C.-based literary organization that “cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change,” on its sixth issue.
For this issue, we seek poems of provocation, activism, and witness as it relates to D/deaf and disabled experiences. Think: poems that split open “disability” and D/deaf life, exposing the complexity within; poems that stare down the forces that seek to diminish us; and poems that demand readers to not just acknowledge us, but also value our bodies and lives, wherever they are at the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, immigration status, religion, and other identities. We encourage you to interpret these themes in a way that challenges and expands the possibilities of poetry for you and for the world.
Although this is a poetry-focused issue, we welcome art, profiles, and interviews with D/deaf and disabled activists, artists, and writers working to provoke social change. We also welcome prose, art, and other work inspired by fellow D/deaf and disabled poets, whether the poet is alive or deceased; young or older.
For more information about The Deaf Poets Society and our submissions process, please review our past issues and guidelines on our website. This issue will be published in March 2018 and form the basis of a reading during the Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, April 19-21, 2018, in Washington, D.C. However, being a resident of D.C. is not required in order to submit or participate in the reading. Still, if you will be in the D.C. area or live in the D.C. area, please let us know in your cover letter so that we can select readers available to present in person; we may also select readers who are not available to read in person, and would like to read remotely.
(Please read our About page before proceeding to read this page. Once you are finished reading the following guidelines, please scroll to the bottom of the page for information about author and artist payment.)
We accept submissions of poetry, prose, cross-genre work, reviews/interviews/miscellany, and art for publication on a rolling basis. We usually publish an online issue four times a year: January, April, July, and October. We changed to this publishing schedule as of November 2016. There are no deadlines for our issues.
*Note: We no longer accept submissions via Submittable due to the inaccessibility of the platform to blind and low-vision submitters. Submittable has not changed their technology or website compliance to become inclusive and accessible to all writers, despite the awareness raised and inquiries from various disabled and non-disabled communities. Instead, please email us your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include your full name and genre in the subject line (NAME_GENRE).
Poetry: We're looking for poems on any subject that will change our readers in some way. We especially want intersectional work that upends the dominant rhetoric about D/deaf life and/or disability. Please send us up to 3 poems in a single .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt file titled with your name and genre (NAME_GENRE).
Prose: We're looking for compelling prose or cross-genre works (including flash and works that combine ASL and English) that critically examine some aspect of the D/deaf and/or disability experience. Please send us anything under 5,000 words in a single .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt file titled with your name and genre (NAME_GENRE).
Ideas (Reviews, Interviews, & Miscellany): In our reviews and interviews, we look for poetry and short fiction, novels and memoirs, anthologies and plays, and art exhibits and new media that explore the intersections of Deaf or disability identity and other identities, allowing these complications to reach across the screen to the reader/viewer. We believe fundamentally that nobody articulates the Deaf and/or disabled experience like Deaf and/or disabled writers and critics. If you, our readers, find a piece of literature or art that might be worth a closer look, send an email to email@example.com, with the subject heading “TIP”.
Art: We're looking for thought-provoking, nuanced art from artists who identify as Deaf, disabled, chronically ill, mentally ill, or neurodiverse. We particularly encourage art dealing with the social construction of disability and works that approach this topic from an intersectional perspective. We accept any media that can be presented online in the form of an image, audio, flash, or video file. Artists may submit up to three art pieces per submission and up to two submissions per reading cycle. For 2D and 3D visual work, please send us images in .jpg, .png, or .pdf format titled with your name, media, and image number (e.g., Smith_Painting_1). For video, audio, and multimedia work, please submit a link to a private online upload of the full submission (e.g., a private YouTube link).
For all artwork, please include with your submission the piece’s name, media type, dimensions (for non-digital work only), year created, and a brief artist statement about the work’s meaning or intention (statements over 250 words may be edited for length). You may include an artist bio at this time, but you are not required to do so. If your work is accepted, we will require high resolution images of at least 2400x3000 pixels for final publication. (Please do not submit 2D digital work that is not available in higher resolution.) Additionally, accessibility captions are required for all accepted work (description of visual art and subtitles/transcripts for audio, video, and multimedia work). Please read our instructions at our Access page. If you are not capable of providing these, we can collaborate with you to create them.
All submitters—with the exception of artists—must provide a brief (50- to 100-word) bio in their cover letter. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us if your submission has been accepted elsewhere. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to withdraw a particular submission and not the entire submission. We do not accept previously published works. Upon publication, all rights revert to the author. All work must be submitted to us through email. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
Call For Reviews
The Ideas section welcomes reviews (roughly 500-1,000 words) of work by disabled writers and about the disability experience. If you are interested in reviewing any of the works below or have a work in mind, please contact Travis Chi Wing Lau (firstname.lastname@example.org). For a sense of how we format our reviews, please check out our past issues.
Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka, and Daniel Sluman (eds.), Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back
Brent Armendinger, the ghost in us was multiplying
Molly McCully Brown, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded
Marlena Chertock, Crumb-sized
Stephanie Heit, The Color She Gave Gravity
Leroy Franklin Moore Jr. AKA The Black Kripple, Black Kripple Delivers Poetry & Lyrics
Sheila Black, Michael Northen, The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked: The Fiction of Disability: An Anthology
Kelly Davio, It's Just Nerves: Notes on a Disability
Christopher Jon Heuer (ed.), Tripping the Tale Fantastic: Weird Fiction by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers.
Raymond Luczak, The Kinda Fella I Am
Anand Prahlad, The Secret Life of a Black Aspie
Kristen Ringman, I Stole You: Stories from the Fae
Sanchez, Deafening Modernism: Embodied Language and Visual Poetics in American Literature
Sunaura Taylor, Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation
Melanie Yergeau, Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness
When we founded The Deaf Poets Society, we decided that it was important to us to pay our authors and artists for their accepted work. However, in order for us to stay afloat in the publishing environment, we knew that this involved risks as well! To fulfill our mission, we'll be dependent on various funding sources, including, but not limited to: voluntary—not required—submission fees/donations through PayPal, fundraising campaigns, and public programming.
A donation of anywhere between $2-$15 through PayPal (or more, if you're feeling particularly generous), will help us give more back to the D/deaf and disability arts community that sustains us. (And, if you donate $10 or more, we will provide a 300-word critique, a writing assignment, and a reading suggestion—whether the work is ultimately accepted or not.) The funds we pull in—which will be allocated to elements such as website development, business licensing, and advertising—will determine how much we can pay authors and artists at any one time. This means that the amount paid to our contributors may fluctuate from issue to issue, and that we thus can't disclose the exact amount we will pay to each submitter. That said, we pledge to be fully transparent about where these submission fees and other forms of support go. Complete and comprehensive data about our finances will appear on this page following the publication of each issue. 100% of contributions will go to further development of the journal and associated arts programming. Donations are not tax-deductible at this time.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding these policies, please email us at email@example.com.
Payments per issue, starting with Issue #2
Issue 2: 16 contributors were paid $15. ($240 in payments)
Issue 3: 19 contributors were paid $15. ($285 in payments)
Issue 4: 17 contributors were paid $15. ($255 in payments)
Issue 5: 15 contributors were paid $15. ($225 in payments)
*We set aside a publisher's share in order to pay for annual filing fees, licensing, Submittable fees, website hosting, and other expenses.