Wanted: Critical and Creative Works on the Theme of Embodied Experience

deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Body of Thought

A new online journal is seeking critical and creative work related to the theme of embodied experience. Essays, reviews, short prose, poetry, and author interviews are all welcome; see below for more detailed guidelines, plus a list of specific titles for which reviews are especially welcome.

The literature of embodied experience, for the purposes of this journal, involves the attempt to articulate bodily sensations that escape naming or straightforward description. The articulation of these sensations requires paying close attention to the ways in which the body inhabits physical space and responds to the features of particular places. It also requires being attuned to the bodily symptoms of emotional states, the sensory manifestations of an inner self.

This sort of literature covers a lot of territory, varying from body to body and place to place. That territory includes:

  • nature writing and psychogeography
  • the corporeal dimensions of social interaction
  • the incarnate experience of withdrawal, solitude, isolation
  • testimonies of bodily discrimination, of disenfranchisement on bodily grounds, of physical sensations of displacement
  • accounts of bodily disorders, disfigurements, disabilities
  • the literature of incarceration and bodily dispossession, of torture and exile, of the bodily ordeal of migration
  • theories of photography and its spectatorial claims on the body, of the point of view in art and its relationship to an object or objectified person

All of these areas of literature, and more, offer distinct yet overlapping examples of embodied experiences.

Works that deal with any of these subjects, or other areas related to this theme, should be sent to bodyofthought.uk@gmail.com.

A brief author biography should accompany each submission. Accepted authors will be asked to supply a photograph prior to publication.

 

Please Note...

Our intention is not just to publish a journal, to populate it with various pieces of "content" from one issue to the next. Our intention, rather, is to build up a community of writers whose work we value, who we hope to invest in, whose interests and outlook we want to present to readers in a multifaceted way. This means that we'll be adhering to a couple of core principles as we go forward:

  1. All writers whose work we accept will be asked to contribute to the journal again in the next twelve months. Future contributions may take the same format as the first contribution (ie. essayists may be asked to contribute another essay) but are not required to do so. Our aim in each case will be to represent the very best work that the writer can offer, whatever format it may take. Writers who have a small body of work related to the theme, or are looking to create one, should advise us of this in their submission email.
  2. Some writers whose work we turn down will be asked to contribute to the journal in other ways, if their work shows promise. Even if a submission is rejected in the first instance, we ask that writers submit their work in a spirit of openness to entering an editorial relationship aimed at cultivating talent.

 

Essays

If you read things like Open Letters Monthly, Full Stop, the TLS, the NYRB, the Sydney Review of Books, you'll get a taste of the sort of essays we're after. They may be entirely personal, entirely meditative or analytical, entirely argumentative, or any mixture of the three. They may take a book or film as a starting point for a broader discussion, they may assess the body of work of a single writer, they may consider the interactions and relations between a number of texts, literary or otherwise -- the choice is entirely up to you. As long as an essay is related to the theme of embodied experience, it is welcome here. Length should fall between 2,500 and 4,000 words.

Please note, however, this is not a peer-reviewed publication, nor does it have an interest in critical theory. Overly academic jargon, burdensome citations, and engagements in theoretical discourses will get an essay turned down. So, too, will the  positioning and framing that eats up a good chunk of the opening pages of most peer-reviewed articles -- the kind of stuff that overdetermines an article's place in an existing discourse. Assume that your readers are intelligent and interested, and impatient to get straight to what you have to say. Read the essays published in the journals above. They really will give you a taste of what we're looking for.

 

Reviews

Reviews of single books should be in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 words. Reviews of multiple books may add 500 words for each additional book. Like essays, reviews should respond to the theme, offering a lucid, compelling analysis and judgment of a work that also relates to the theme in some way. Books under review may take any form: prose fiction, prose non-fiction, poetry, drama, photographry, whatever you prefer. "Hot takes" on brand new books are certainly welcome, although we prefer reviews that focus on books published in the last twelve months. These reviews should aim to be more sober, more deeply considered, more reflective than the reviews that usually greet a book at the time of its publication.

We are actively seeking reviews of the following recent works:

  • Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things and Blind Spot
  • Matthew Crawford, The World Beyond Your Head
  • Rachel Cusk, Outline and Transit
  • Geoff Dyer, White Sands
  • Roxanne Gay, Difficult Women and Hunger
  • Paul Kingsnorth, The Wake and Beast
  • Cynan Jones, The Dig and Cove
  • Olivia Laing, The Lonely City
  • Ben Lerner, No Art
  • Deborah Levy, Swimming Home and Hot Milk
  • Mike McCormack, Solar Bones
  • Bejamin Myers, Beastings and The Gallows Pole
  • Maggie Nelson, Bluets and The Argonauts
  • Anna Pavord, Landskipping

We would also appreciate reviews and/or essays that offer reconsiderations of older titles including:

  • John Berger, various
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
  • Teju Cole, various
  • Roger Deakin, various
  • Joan Didion, various
  • Annie Dillard, various
  • Edward P. Jones, various
  • Ben Lerner, various
  • Han Kang, The Vegetarian
  • Richard Mabey, Nature Cure
  • Robert Macfarlane, various
  • Cormac McCarthy, various
  • Rebecca Solnit, various
  • Susan Sontag, various
  • Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

 

Short Prose

Short prose should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Shorter and longer pieces are welcome, too, but are less likely to find a place here. No genre fiction, please, but otherwise anything goes. This includes creative prose that isn't fiction at all, or that doesn't foreground narrative; prose that is more meditative or ecstatic than an engine for story, as in the work of Sebald or Dillard. The unconventional is favoured. Please send it!

 

Poetry

Poets should submit between five and ten poems of no more than 50 lines each. The aim is to publish the work of two poets per issue, featuring a small portfolio of between three and five poems from each poet.

 

Authors of short prose and poetry will also be asked to respond briefly to a series of interview questions prior to publication.

 

Author Interviews

Interviews with authors of books that relate to the theme should be about 3,000 words in length. The theme should be a subject of discussion in the interview, although by no means do we expect it to determine the flow of the discussion. For a sense of the sort of authors we'd like to see interviewed, take a look at the above list of titles we'd like to review. Any of those authors, or anyone on a similar wavelength, would be well-suited for an interview in our pages.

 


As above, submissions should be sent to bodyofthought.uk@gmail.com.

A brief author biography should accompany each submission. Accepted authors will be asked to supply a photograph prior to publication.