Poetry Submissions are currently closed for Plumwood Mountain journal

over the next five or six weeks guest poetry editor Michael Farrell will be reading your submissions for

 Stick in a Thumb and Pull out a Plum: Poetry and Consumption

The Moneypower Continuum – Francis X. Healy Jr.


Rationing Earth – Herb Bentz


Global Social Policy: Themes, Issues and Actors – Kepa Artaraz, Michael Hill

Are we, collectively, any more advanced than Little Jack Horner,[i] the nursery rhyme plum-thumber of the title above? Don’t we see this affect in parliament daily?

We eat to live, we eat the trees and roads and petrol and machines it takes to make the food we eat. And this is only a fraction of what we consume. Writing consumes, clothing consumes, recycling consumes. Once it seemed the solution to decreasing consumption was decreasing the population, but technological innovation solved conceptual poverty, and, presumably, one rich person can consume more than several poor villages. How do we write about this?

For Judith Wright, fire was a potent figure. She writes about fire in a number of poems, and cites Herakleitos, as an epigraph to her book The Two Fires (1955), saying that the world itself is fire. In the title poem, she writes, melodramatically enough, “time has caught on fire”. How then can we consume fire? We might find out through attending to the predominantly metaphorical use of fire in Wright’s poems, such as “Two Fires”, “Flame Tree in a Quarry”, “Wonga Vine”, “Midnight” and others. Wright seems fascinated by fire as a simultaneous signifier of life and death, and its relation to air, or breath. We don’t have to accept Herakleitos, or Wright, of course.

There is a philosophical, and practical, movement known as “voluntary simplicity” which cuts down on consumption through living more simply and sparely. This phrase, of “voluntary simplicity” challenges the usefulness of the term “sustainability” which, in its function as a buzzword, encourages consumption. Many poets live a life of involuntary simplicity, at least relative to their earning peers. But how do we think this through in poetry, poetics? The spare lyric may appeal to some, but do we all want to write like every word that comes out of our world-destroying laptops is precious, and should be scratched on a bone in a field and praised in the New York Times? Fire, for one thing, is more baroque.

There was a maximalist art movement that challenged minimalism: which consumed the most in their production is arguable. Poetry may not save the planet, but we keep reading and writing it because it makes being alive, for us, worthwhile. Bully for those it doesn’t, to borrow from Frank O’Hara.

Consumption is also tied up with aspiration and autonomy. See Bruno Mars’ “What I Like” or Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Woman”. The “simple life” is a bourgeois concept. National consumption is also tied to so-called defence. The use value of a missile vs the support of art practitioners.

I am looking for poems that relate to, consider the above. Not “magical solution” poems (unless they’re actually magical), but (meta)critical, metaphorical, extensive, enjoyable poems. I’d rather read a great shopping poem than a diatribe – or self-portrait posing as a lament. Breathe. Eat.

Michael Farrell

[i] For a speculative history, see


Submissions for the August 2018 issue will open in mid March 2018. Details of the guest editor and theme for that issue will be published then.

Submissions Guidelines (please follow these closely)

Send up to 3 poems in Times New Roman 12pt font, 1.5 spacing with each poem as a separate email attachment. Poems should not be previously published, but simultaneous submissions are allowed. Please let the managing editor know if your poem is accepted elsewhere. Poems should be submitted as .docx, .doc, or .rtf files (send visual poems as both .pdf and .jpg.) by email to: . Do not include your name or contact details on the poems themselves, and please delete personal information from your electronic file properties. Include email contact details and a brief (50 word) bio in the body of an email.

General scholarly essays can be sent any time unless otherwise noted

Plumwood Mountain also considers submissions of scholarly essays and book reviews, creative prose and photo essays.

Scholarly essays should be 3000 – 5000 words in length

Books are currently available for review

Book reviews should be 1000 – 2000 words in length. See our Notes for Reviewers, also the list of available books. To read previous reviews visit the Book Reviews page.

Style for articles and reviews: Times New Roman, left justified, 1.5 spacing, with footnotes, or author-date, and bibliography, following Chicago Manual of Style.

All  articles, reviews and essays should be submitted as .docx, .doc, or .rtf files by email to:

For multimedia, photographic essays, sound recordings and visual art, please first discuss the submission process and formatting with the managing editor at

Copyright of poems, artwork, articles and reviews remains with the contributor.


Funds are not currently available to pay contributors, as all work for the journal is voluntary, but if funding becomes available we plan to give paying poetry contributors priority.

Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

ISSN 2203-4404

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