Archives For Ecopoetry

Submission Ideas for 2014

January 5, 2014 — 1 Comment


Each January, I vow to read more, write more, write better, or at least submit what I have on hand. I’ve been trying to divide my time between submitting and writing with mixed results on the multitasking. Much of my submission research is summarized below. I’m back to using an Excel spreadsheet to track submissions because it gives me flexibility, and I keep forgetting to log in to’s tracking system to log responses.

Poem, Chapbook and Manuscript Contests

For individual poem, chapbook, and manuscript contests, I’ve been using this list from, which organizes by monthly deadlines and has all three categories together in one place.

A list of chapbook publishers here and here from earlier blog posts of mine, “Submission Season” and “Chapbook Publishing.”

Tom Holmes, editor of Redactions, created a list of places to submit manuscripts here.

Literary Journals (free) (subscription)

Poets & Writers (subscription but good free databases as well). Literary journals and magazines, writing contests, grants and awards listings.

I have always used the above three sources for lit journals, but I’m finding that it is easier to discover new lit journals through the listings. Most of the new journals are online rather than print. The online journals do not have a higher acceptance rate, but they do have a faster response rate at times, and it is much easier to promote work published in an online journal through social media.

I am currently tracking eco journals, so here is a list of top ones thanks to Little Curlew Press.

  1. Ecotone
  2. Flyway
  3. Canary
  4. Hawk and Handsaw
  5. Flycatcher
  6. Newfound
  8. Orion

Others journals for poems of place or the relationship of man and environment are: The Clearing, Fourth River, Clade Song

A new journal, Fall Lines (long, but info was forwarded by a friend and may not be easy to find online just yet):

Fall Lines – a literary convergence is a new literary journal based in Columbia, SC and presented by Jasper Magazine in partnership with Richland Library, the University of South Carolina Press, Muddy Ford Press, and One Columbia.

Fall Lines accepts submissions of previously unpublished poetry, essays, short fiction, and flash fiction from January 1 through March 1, 2014. While the editors of Fall Lines hope to attract the work of writers and poets from the Carolinas and the Southeastern US, acceptance of work is not dependent upon residence.

Please limit short fiction to 2000 words or less; flash fiction to 350 – 500 words; essays to 1200 words; and poetry to three pages (Times New Roman 12 pt.) Submit your work via email to with the words “Fall Lines” in the subject heading along with the category (above) of the item being submitted. While you are invited to enter up to five items, each item should be sent individually as a single submission. Please include with each submission a cover sheet stating your name, age, email address, and USPO address. There is no fee to enter.

Publication in Fall Lines will be determined by a panel of judges and accepted authors will be notified in May 2014, with a publication date in June 2014. Accepted authors will receive two copies of the journal.

The Columbia Fall Line is a natural junction, along which the Congaree River falls and rapids form, running parallel to the east coast of the country between the resilient rocks of the Appalachians and the softer, more gentle coastal plain.

Expat or International Journals (from

The Pavilion – seeks poems by US expats

Apalachee Review – seeks poems with an international theme

Border Crossing – seeks poems from either US or Canadian poets

Where to Send Already Published Poems

A reader asked me recently where to send already published poems to extend readership. (Published usually means anywhere, whether it’s in print, online, or on a blog or poetry website.) I have a few suggestions:

Anthologies (look for themed anthology listings on,, or Poets & Writers ( Anthologies will usually take unpublished poems as well.

Poetry Daily – previously published poems in books, chapbooks, or in a literary journal (must send the entire journal as a copy)

Versewrights – unpublished or previously published poems

Verse Daily – previously published in books, chapbooks, or in a literary journal (must send the journal copy)

Personal Blog – You can put your own previously published poems on your blog as long as you credit the original journal (and provide a link where appropriate).

Lit Journals (some will take previously published poems, but be careful to read guidelines.)


Middlebury College and Orion Magazine are sponsoring a new environmental writing conference June 9-15, 2014 in Middlebury, Vermont.

Here is a brief summary of the conference from the Middlebury College website:

Middlebury College and award-winning Orion magazine are teaming up to launch The Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference, a unique forum modeled after Middlebury’s Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (BLWC). The Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program, the oldest undergraduate environmental studies program in the nation, will also serve as a co-sponsor of the new conference. Beginning in 2014, the intensive week-long program is designed for those who want to bring more depth of knowledge and understanding to their writing about the environment and the natural world.

The conference, which will take place June 9-15 at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus, will feature faculty that include writers Rick Bass, Jane Brox, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Camille Dungy, Maurice Manning and Alan Weisman.

The conference will benefit writers across multiple genres:

…The new conference will benefit writers who want to improve their writing about the environment; poets who are drawn to writing about the natural world; environmental professionals who want to strengthen their writing skills; and those who seek to become better advocates for the environment through their writing.

More information can be found on the Middlebury website. The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference has a great reputation, so this conference should be one to keep in mind as well.

Much of my time this week was devoted to an online modern poetry class and submissions, but I have been reading two ecopoetry collections that are worth mentioning. Entanglements is from the UK (Two Ravens Press, edited by David Knowles and Sharon Blackie), and it is a beautiful book featuring work by Ruth Padel, Jorie Graham, Catherine Owen, Isabel Galleymore, and so many other poets I am discovering. At 186 pages it is a great size to carry along. The stated focus of Entanglements is new work, unlike The Ecopoetry Anthology that includes historical poets (Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost) as well as contemporary poets (Gerald Stern, Jean Valentine, W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield).

Entanglements Front Cover Webecopoetry-anthology-cover

A favorite poem from Entanglements is Ruth Padel’s “Meeting the Lemming.”

Meeting the Lemming

None of the story is true. Hurtling over the edge
(listen, says the dark) we repeat it on Facebook over
and over, divinity lies in shutting our eyes.
White Wilderness faked the myth with domestic
lemmings, screwed out of Eskimo children,
flown from Hudson Bay and put to race on a snow-
covered turntable. Tight camera angles, what they do
to denial: turn a handful of pets to a mass mob-run
over tundra. An ice-rink. Then Disney’s film crew
threw them off a cliff. Over they go
you can see them on celluloid, falling through
the silver aspic of 1950s air, a lake of dying rodents
longhaired as Tuppenny the runaway guinea-pig
in The Fairy Caravan; like hamsters my brother kept
and kept losing through that hole under the bath
in the house where black hollyhocks grew high
as the bedroom window. That same brother
who caught frostbite on a mountain in Norway,
lingering to inspect the tricolor silks – black,
chestnut and while – of a single lemming.

If you like Entanglements, consider EarthLines Magazine, founded by the editors of this anthology.

The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Anne Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street (Trinity University Press), is a hefty volume with 600+ pages of poetry.

Carolyn Forche’s poem “The Museum of Stones” has a fantastic run-on, all-encompassing catalog of stones and man-built features:

The Museum of Stones

These are your stones, assembled in matchbox and tin,
collected from roadside, culvert, and viaduct,
battlefield, threshing floor, basilica, abattoir–
stones, loosened by tanks in the streets
from a city whose earliest map was drawn in ink on linen,
schoolyard stones in the hand of a corpse,
pebble from Baudelaire’s oui,
stone of the mind within us
carried from one silence to another,
stone of cromlech and cairn, schist and shale, horneblende,
agate, marble, millstones, ruins of choirs and shipyards,
chalk, marl, mudstone from temples and tombs,
stone from the tunnel lined with bones,
lava of a city’s entombment, stones
chipped from lighthouse, cell wall, scriptorium,
paving stones from the hands of those who rose against the army,
stones where the bells had fallen, where the bridges were blown,
those that had flown through windows, weighted petitions,
feldspar, rose quartz, blueschist, gneiss and chert,
fragments of an abbey at dusk, sandstone toe
of a Buddha mortared at Bamiyan,
stone from the hill of three crosses and a crypt,
from a chimney were storks cried like human children,
stones newly fallen from stars, a stillness of stones, a heart,
altar and boundary of stone, marker and vessel, first cast, lode and hail,
bridge stones and others to pave and shut up with,
stone apple, stone basil, beech, berry, stone brake,
stone bramble, stone fern, lichen, liverwort, pippin and root,
concretion of the body, as blind as cold as deaf,
all earth a quarry, all life a labor, stone-faced, stone-drunk
with hope that this assemblage of rubble, taken together, would become
a shrine or holy place, an ossuary, immoveable and sacred
like the stone that marked the path of the sun as it entered the human dawn.

Originally published in The New Yorker.

Other anthologies on ecopoetry are Earth Shattering edited by Neil Astley, Earth Songs, edited by Peter Abbs, and Soul of the Earth, edited by Jay Ramsay. Entanglements contains a three-page list of ecopoetry-related books.

There are a number of journals that look for poems of place and the environment. So far I’ve found these:

Fourth River
Written River
The Clearing

There is also a good summary of ecopoetry in this article from the International Times, “What is Ecopoetry?”

I discovered a new poet recently, Jennifer Boyden, and wanted to share a favorite poem, “The Misunderstanding of Wool.” One of my current interests is ecopoetry and landscape in historical poetry, and Boyden’s work examines the world in disquieting ways. The poem was originally published in The Adirondack Review and is included in Boyden’s second book, The Declarable Future.

The Misunderstanding of Wool
Jennifer Boyden

As if animals aren’t terrified of the blades
of their shearing. In the thrift stores, it is easy to see how
the wool of this town has been misunderstood.

It isn’t hard to find the ruins: woolen sailor pants, the funeral
suits and interview jackets, hats for shrunken heads, and now-
baby sweaters.

When I have assembled the pile, I begin to teach the wool
the old ways of their sheep and rabbits.
I remove false eyes of pearl buttons, cut the tags
of secondary origins. And then

I teach them heartbeat and bunching into corners, teach them
grass height for hiding and grass green for food, hawk shadow,
owl call, magpie lures and mimics.

The dry woolens must be reintroduced to oil
if they are to make it. They will need to be given back
to fear of the coming dog and bramble snags.

They must never trust water, or anything
that beckons with the reflection of ourselves.


I particularly like that the poem manages to depict the current, urban landscape that is, at the same time that it evokes the landscape that has been lost.

Jennifer Boyden’s two books are pictured below. The Mouths of Grazing Things won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and The Declarable Future won The Four Lakes Prize in Poetry. All of Boyden’s poems are arresting, and the framework with which Boyden views the world is both detailed and compassionate. I’m looking forward to future publications and readings.

Bio from her website ( Boyden won a PEN Northwest Wilderness Writing Residency Award, which allowed her to live and write for nearly a year in a remote cabin in southern Oregon, and a Washington Artists’ Trust grant for a suite of essays about walking, how environment shapes movement and idea, and observations about how personal and public identities are affected by corporate influence and the removal of nature.