Submissions are now open for Volume 7 Number 2 guest edited by Jonathan Skinner
Submissions open 26 May 2020 and close 1 July 2020. Please read the full call for work before submitting.
Writing in the Pause: Call for Work
Over the past two months most of us have lived through a slowing and restriction of our movements, unprecedented in global scale, as we have complied with ‘social distancing’ measures in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Some have referred to this period as the Great Pause: empirically measured in the 17% drop in daily global CO₂ emissions from last year’s mean. How do we take its qualitative measure?
Emissions are already on the rise again, and many of us may be once more on the move, as economies slowly ‘reopen.’ The experience of the Great Pause has been uneven, to be sure, as the pandemic has tended to expose if not exacerbate existing socioeconomic inequalities. Some of us (‘key workers’) may have kept commuting to the frontline, while for many there may not have been a ‘pause,’ only a shift to ‘telecommuting,’ an accelerated digitization of labor eroding boundaries between work and home. Many have been furloughed or laid off, with or without some form of taxpayer support; for many of us it has been a season of fear and isolation. And for some: illness, suffering, death, grief, without the solace of communal rituals. The immiseration of millions under lockdown with no home to call a home goes largely unreported, as does the weaponization of the virus at sites of indigenous resistance, a form of violence with long precedent. For most of us, the Great Pause has disrupted usual movements.
What in this disruption have we learned, about where we live and who and how and what we are? What differences lie exposed, and what common ground? How have we mourned in the absence of gathering? What have we come to celebrate? What would we like to remember, as we accelerate again towards capital’s limits accumulating in the atmosphere? This feature invites submissions of writing in the pause.
At one level, I am interested in the renewed attention to place and to community the ‘lockdown’ has enforced: writing on, in and around attention to the local, the neighborhood, what can be reached on foot or observed in one’s backyard or even in one’s home–along with changed observations of and interactions with neighbors, of whatever kind (for many, this has been a time of seasonal transition, for others an initiation to mutual aid). Do new kindnesses emerge out of previously fixed relations? Have old injustices become newly audible? Have interactions been reduced? At another level, any distance on what was considered ‘normal’ only two months ago might prompt breakthroughs in perception and writing.
Writing in the Pause calls specifically for writing connected to the change in our mobility. What happens when we take the travel out of ecopoetics? This is not to privilege the local over the planetary, simple ideas of home over global complexities, nor the descriptive over the conceptual, but to prompt writing that listens in the pause.
Seismologists have observed a 30-50% reduction in anthropogenic ground noise. In this temporary drop in vibration, what has it become possible to hear, as if for the first time? What keening or ode to joy is now audible in the ground between us? I invite listening in the broadest possible sense, below and beyond the bird song we might first notice, once the roar of vehicles and airliners and the distraction of our own speed is turned down. To paraphrase Pauline Oliveiros, do we now find our ears in our feet?
Formally adventurous submissions, writing that tarries with an ecotone (or ‘edge effect,’ however that boundary be construed), will be favored. I am less interested in the ego than in the eco poetics of the Great Pause–writing vulnerable to its own falsifiability in and through contact in the field. Crossings of genre and media (including work with sound) are encouraged. I will read for irony and humor as well as sincerity. Decolonial perspectives are especially welcome.
All submissions will be considered anonymously. Please submit between one and five pages of work (or equivalent) in Word-compatible format to the Managing Editor, Anne Elvey, firstname.lastname@example.org. If the work has a visual dimension, please additionally submit a PDF version. Be sure to submit media files in a cross-platform compatible format (i.e. tiff, jpeg, gif, png, mp3, mp4, wav, avi, mpeg); for large files, include a link to cloud-based file sharing.
Please circulate this call amongst writers in your community.
Submissions open 26 May 2020 and close 1 July 2020.
Jonathan Skinner is a poet, field recordist, editor, and critic, best known for founding the journal ecopoetics. His poetry collections and chapbooks include Chip Calls (Little Red Leaves, 2014), Birds of Tifft (BlazeVOX, 2011), Warblers (Albion Books, 2010), and Political Cactus Poems (Palm Press, 2005). He has published numerous essays at the intersection of poetry, ecology, activism, landscape and sound studies. Skinner teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.
Submissions are read anonymously. Do not include your name or contact details on the submission itself, and please delete personal information from your electronic file properties. Include email contact details and a brief (50 word) bio in the body of your email. Also include your postcode if you are resident in Australia. This will not be published. We can offer payment of $50 per accepted submission to Australian-based poets.
Plumwood Mountain also publishes book reviews and photo essays.
Book reviews should be 800 – 1000 words in length unless otherwise agreed. We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. See our Notes for Reviewers, also the list of available books. To read previous reviews visit the Book Reviews page. If you would like to review one of the books listed or would like to suggest a book to review, please contact the managing editor
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Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics