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Call for Poems

Upcoming project Enter the Void (working title) will be an immersive interdisciplinary performance installation in which visitors can leave our world behind for the darkness of the space between the stars.

What does the void mean to you? Which of your senses does it call to? Does it terrify? Entice? Perhaps both? What strange things are possible in infinite nothingness?

deep blue sky with tiny scattered stars

One component of the installation experience will be a book of passage - a hand-bound chapbook that serves as touchstone, ticket holder, event program, and passport stamped at entry and exit. The bulk of its pages will hold poems - they'll be the prologue, the visitors' guide, the points of readiness and departure. I am looking for poems that speak to the unknowable, the velvet darkness, the vast cold distances, both the tranquility and isolation of deep space. Give me your space opera, space witches, space squids, sentient stars, darkmatter currents, narrow escapes of the event horizon... If it happens in, engages with, travels across, or otherwise features the non-planetside parts of space, I want to see it!

I anticipate accepting only ~5 poems for this project. Chapbooks will be handmade with handpainted covers; supply will be limited. They will primarily be distributed at the installation(s) and to Patreon supporters (at Ephemera and Realia levels), but if I find I have extras on my hands or can afford to make another run I will make them available for sale. The PDF version will be available online as pay-what-you-can when the installation premieres in late spring/early summer 2018. All versions will include a large print option.

If you'd like to support development of this project, come be my Patron!
If you'd like to bring this installation to your local black box theatre sometime after June 2018, talk to me at twmacnutt@gmail.com!

Submission guidelines:

  • Genre: speculative/genre poetry is especially welcome, but relevant non-genre work may be submitted as well. Creeping horror is fine, but please no gory space-violence.
  • No length restriction, but very long poems may be a harder sell
  • Submit up to 5 poems, in a single submission, as doc, docx, rtf, pdf, or odt file(s). Format poems as you would like them to appear.
  • Previously published work is fine!
  • Please no simultaneous submissions.
  • Deadline for submissions: Dec 31 2017 at end of day EST. I probably will not respond to any submissions until the submission period closes, other than to send a confirmation that your submission has been received.
  • Rights: I seek digital and physical publication rights. If you are submitting a reprint, please make sure you are able to offer those rights (for publication in approx June 2018), and be sure to indicate in your cover letter where/when the piece first appeared.
  • Compensation: $30 (via PayPal) and 2 copies of the chapbook.
  • Email submissions to twmacnutt@gmail.com with the subject line: "VOID SUBMISSION". In your email, please include your name and the title(s) of the poem(s) you are submitting. Include reprint status if applicable. You can include a cover letter about yourself and your publication history (if you have one) if you like, but it is not required. If you have relevant life experience to your poem's subject matter, feel free to include that (for example, if you have a degree in astrophysics, or are an immigrant writing about a cosmic diaspora), though you are not required to do so. If you choose to write a cover letter, you can address me by "Toby" or "Editor".
  • Marginalized poets of all kinds are welcome. If you would like to disclose your identity(/ies) in your cover letter, or feel that it is of value to your work to do so, you are welcome to, but it is not required.
  • New and unpublished poets are welcome!
  • Queries and questions: twmacnutt@gmail.com with subject line "VOID QUERY". If you have not received a confirmation email within a few days of submitting, please query! If you have not received a final response by 1/15/18, please query! If you have any other questions about the process, do email and ask.
  • If you're not sure if your work fits the theme quite right - don't query, just send it! Don't self reject 🙂