Call for submissions
Call for submissions
‘Queering Ecopoet(h)ics’ seeks poems that rupture and unsettle hegemonic thinking about ‘Nature’, ‘the natural’ and the environmental status quo.
Taking cues from the work of Nicole Seymour (2013) and editors Angela Hume and Samia Rahimtoola (2018), we aim to gather a collection of poetries that “render strange” essentialist, fixed notions of the natural world, and in so doing, get under the skin of “queer as a verb” (Sullivan 2003) and as an ethical, ecological practice. From the queering of matter and form to spinster ecologies and found family poetics—we seek poetries of desire and embrace for the multiplicities of kinship, attachment and care in the more-than-human world.
Friend, lover, mate: let’s declassify what we adore.
Species is no formula; a heart hails its charms.
Mutiny’s the colonizer’s word. Every flamingo
scouts lagoons, knows a heart from a locked gate.
A moat suggests trespass. A form begs mutation.
A flamingo’s heart is fireweed, cranky bell, plankton.
Without natural predators, she’s her own unruly skein.
Her song a flare. To taste her heart is to coil silk.
Beloved, I want you for your otherness, your curvy neck.
Beckon me in a language my heart can’t command.
—Amie Whittemore, ‘Ghazal For the Texas Flamingo’
Seymour (2013) argues that the “kind of empathy that environmentalism at large calls for so urgently right now is by definition queer” as we are called to care for a diversity of “beings, including non-humans, to which one has no domestic, familial or financial ties.” So, send us your lesbian albatrosses, transgender fish, gay penguins, bison bears, bambis, squirrel bi’s, pansies, Schizophyllum commune and all flavours of queer fruit. Poems that perform our porosity, poems that tea dance and cruise, poems in which flowers and the human body tango and entwine.
… my lover is tracing fingertips
around two long incisions in my chest. Each sewn tight
with stitches, each a naked stem, flaring with thorns.
—Ely Shipley, ‘Boy with Flowers’
Un-closet your shapeshifting terminals, your Golden Shovel-headed garden worms, your de-composed forms: decaying and exploded sestinas, elegies of extinction, lyrics of dis-ease, poems that resist and challenge unchecked colonial ideologies of capital and growth
in all their airborne
shifted on the breeze
for the last time. Of course,
the absence of bees
left behind significant holes
in ecology. Less
were the indelible holes
in poems, which would come
—RK Fauth, ‘Playing with Bees’
Narratives of cis-heteronormativity have long been the apparatus of the colonial project. It is thus central to the ethics of queer ecopoetics to decolonise our remembering and imagining, to speak whole truths for the sake of any future for our kin.
the other history
is a dream we tell
to give the night ghosts
we will not raise bioluminescent angels
lucky to be suckling bull kelp in the teeth of the sea
you’ll never teach them to ride bicycles through tar sands
I won’t crochet extinct totems on their masks
a different kind of barren to imagine
a centre we knew wouldn’t hold
—Evelyn Araluen, ‘Dirge’
In this spirit, we entreat you to invite wild speakers into your poetic houses—hibiscuses, hens-of-the-woods, hydrozoans. Experiment with the ‘I’/the ‘eye’/the ‘ai’. Serenade us with songs of nature’s inherent mutability, underscored with the ethics and radical empathy of the queer and queered imagination. Titillate us with tales (/tails) of queer becomings of all kinds. For as Amie Whittemore states “there is no one way to be a human or a bird”.
We’d be delighted to read poems by, but not limited to, LGBTQIA+ writers and allies, First Nations writers, people of the global majority, d/Deaf, disabled and chronically ill writers, and neurodiverse writers.
—Dr Willo Drummond and Stuart Barnes
is a queer poet and researcher who writes from Dharug and Gundungarra land/the NSW Blue Mountains. She has been the recipient of a Career Development Grant (poetry) from the Australia Council for the Arts, shortlisted for the Val Vallis Award, placed second in the Tom Collins Poetry Prize and longlisted for the Grieve Writing Awards. Her debut collection Moon Wrasse (Puncher & Wattmann) was commended in the 2023 Five Islands Prize for a first book of poetry.
Willo teaches creative writing at Macquarie University and has served as a poetry reader for Overland Literary Journal, an assessor for the Varuna Publisher Fellowships, and as an executive committee member for the Australasian Association of Writing Programs. Her poetry is published in Australian and international journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Mascara Literary Review, Island, Griffith Review, The Canberra Times, Australian Poetry Journal, TEXT, AXON, Plumwood Mountain: An Australian and International Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics, Science Write Now, Meniscus and Writing from Below, and has been anthologised by Australian Poetry, Recent Work Press and Hunter Writers Centre. Moon Wrasse was described by poet Jill Jones as ‘bounteous, sinuous and queer, haunting in its embrace of grief, shifting identities, and transformation. Instagram: @lookingthinkingwording willodrummond.com
is a gay/queer poet living in Queensland, Australia. His second book, Like to the Lark (Upswell Publishing, 2023), won the 2023 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. His first book, Glasshouses (UQP, 2016), won the 2015 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize, was commended for the 2016 Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the 2017 Mary Gilmore Award. Stuart has co-judged major poetry prizes and guest co-edited issues of major literary journals, including Cordite Poetry Review 88: TRANSQUEER. His poems have been awarded the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, shortlisted for the ACU Prize for Poetry, the Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award and the Montreal International Poetry Prize, among others, commissioned for anthologies and learning resources such as Alcatraz, Dancing About Architecture and Other Ekphrastic Manoeuvres and Red Room Poetry, and widely published, including in The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry, Best of Australian Poems 2022, The Moth, POETRY (Chicago) and Poetry Wales. Stuart, Nigel Featherstone, Melinda Smith and CJ Bowerbird are Hell Herons, a spoken-work/music collective whose first record is due in 2024. X: @StuartABarnes Instagram: @hellherons stuartabarnes.com
Araluen, Evelyn. ‘Dirge,’ Drop Bear. University of Queensland Press. 2021.
Balkun, Stacey. ‘There is No One Way to be a Human or a Bird: An Interview with Amie Whittemore,’ Poetry Centre, University of Arizona. 2021.
Fauth, R.K. ‘Playing with Bees,’ A Dream in Which I Am Playing with Bees. Texas Tech University Press. 2023.
Hume, Angela & Samia Rahimtoola (2018). ‘Introduction: Queering Ecopoetics,’ ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Volume 25, Issue 1, Winter, 2018, pp. 134–149.
Seymour, Nicole. Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. 2013.
Shipley, Ely. ‘Boy with Flowers,’ Boy with Flowers. Barrow Street Press. 2008.
Sullivan, Nikki. ‘Queer: A Question of Being or A Question of Doing?’ A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 2003.
Whittemore, Amie. ‘Ghazal For the Texas Flamingo,’ Cordella Issue 17, January, 2023. https://www.cordella.org/#/amie-whittemore
- Send up to 2 poems in 1 document, totalling 4 or fewer pages.
- Submissions are read by the editors anonymously, so please do not include your name in your submission file name or the document itself.
- However, we ask that you include a brief statement of up to 50 words identifying your relationship to the LGBTQIA+ community (this may reference your own sexuality or gender identity, or you may signal your allyship) to assist the editors’ reading of your poem/s. Please also indicate any information about your cultural background that is relevant to their reading of the submitted work. You may include this in the document (if space allows) or in Submittable, or both.
- We welcome simultaneous submissions and ask that you withdraw your submission via Submittable if your work is accepted elsewhere.
- Successful poems will be published ($80 per poem) in the journal’s March issue, 2024.