Reckoning 7 Guidelines: Poetry

Fela Kuti’s ‘Water No Get Enemy’ is one of my favorite songs about life, and it’s echoing in my head as I think about Reckoning 7. The Afrobeat maestro warns humans not to war with water, because we cook and wash with it, we drink it, and clean both the newborn and the dead with it. In other words, water is life; only those who want to die trouble it, and that’s exactly what we’re doing now. We seem to forget that Earth is two thirds aquatic ecosystems that stabilize the global climate and sustain life. We increasingly unsettle water bodies with our spills, plastics, and the additional stressor of warmer temperatures that drive extreme events like floods, droughts, and wildfires.

Human activities invade species, shrinking biodiversity and engendering extinction. So, let’s sing about crests, let’s sing about atolls, let’s sing about seaward slopes. What’s beauty if not Rainbow Reef, Grand Central Station Chimneys, Great Barrier Reef, and Andaman Sea Reef? What else is beauty? But don’t worry if your work isn’t about oceans, aquifers and springs, rivers and streams, wetlands, bays, and estuaries. Water has no enemy; it’s life, and if you’ve written a poem about environmental justice please send it my way.

Payment for poetry is $30 (US) per page and there are no fees to submit.

Read the full guidelines and submit!

Reckoning 7 Guidelines: Nonfiction

Someone throws out a plastic bag, maybe intentionally or maybe lost on the wind in a moment when they aren’t paying attention, and now there’s plastic in the Mariana Trench.1 Meanwhile, horseshoe crabs evolved a compound to resist infection, and now their blood ensures millions of vaccine doses are safe every year, though at the cost of their own health as a species.2

No matter what we’re trying to get—easier access to electricity, delicious food, a nice day out—nothing happens in a vacuum. Our actions have consequences, both positive and negative, that ripple across the system regardless of intent. So what does happen when we pay attention to the whole, rather than only the parts that are immediately visible? What effects do we learn to look out for, and what unanticipated surprises change the way we think about the impact of our actions? Consider food webs, niches, and global currents—but don’t stop there. A novel perspective is the most valuable of all.

While a connection to watery ecosystems is preferable, it is not required; we do expect a connection to environmental justice. References are appreciated where relevant, in no particular format—this call is for creative rather than academic or journalistic nonfiction.

Payment for nonfiction is 8 cents (US) per word and there are no fees to submit.

Read the full guidelines and submit!




Reckoning 7 Guidelines: Fiction

As I’m reading the fiction submissions for Reckoning 7, I am particularly interested in stories about the global water system, including marine, wetland, and riparian environments. The Earth is a watery planet and the effect of climate change, for example, on sea level rise, marine ecology, and coastal communities is an invitation to explore the oceanic Gothic. I’m also interested in seeing stories that connect water systems and exploration, keeping in mind that historically, exploration has frequently resulted in exploitation. I’d like to see stories that address the many consequences of this, as well as stories about the future of sustainable marine exploration, and the interaction between human and nonhuman species in watery environments. Please note that stories not on this theme will also be considered so long as they are focused on environmental justice, so please don’t self-reject.

Payment for fiction is 8 cents (US) per word and there are no fees to submit.

Read the full guidelines and submit!