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!

Reckoning 6 Submission Call


Seeking speculative fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry about environmental justice that addresses the intersection between social upheaval and environmental changes, from collapses to breakthroughs, and everything in between. People’s large-scale relationships to the Earth produce formidable stories of devastation and resilience, which we welcome, but we also welcome those moments of intimacy, of quiet revolution, of deciding that changing the world means understanding and fighting for one’s place in it. We’re especially interested in work that demolishes or subverts binaries; that engages all the senses and emotions; and deals in hope, complexity, and complicity.

  • Fiction that shatters, stretches, or realigns mainstream Western ideas about relationships between individual humans, humans as a whole, and all other members of our environment. We’d love to read something with the vibe of Leslie Marmon Silko, Linda Hogan, N.K. Jemisin, or something brand-new. Send us your solarpunk, your biopunk, your hopepunk, and all things of multiple genres.
  • Nonfiction stories of environmental racism, of mental health intertwined with climate justice, of reckoning with systemic inequities during natural disasters, be they incisive or philosophical, bleak or hopeful, private or macrocosmic.
  • Poetry that deals with the questions of: how does social justice impact the manifestations, understanding and assimilation of environmental justice? How are attitudes toward preservation influenced—or complicated by—cultural roots? How have civil rights exposed or strengthened breaches in the makeup of activism?

We are actively seeking work from BIPOC, queer and transgender writers, artists with disabilities, and anyone who has suffered the consequences, intended or otherwise, of dominant society’s systemic disconnect with and mistreatment of the natural world. And we’re actively seeking new ways to reach all of the above. Seriously, if you know of a way we can do that, please share.

Read the full guidelines and submit your work here.

Reckoning 5 Submission Call – Fiction/Nonfiction

For Reckoning 5, I want stories that elicit a sense of wonder about the environment. We all know that biodiversity is endangered, but our hyper-urban lifestyles are making us so out of touch with the natural world that it’s sometimes easier to imagine complete environmental destruction than to look at the environment we still do have. And how can we be expected to protect what we don’t even see?

So show us why we should care. Show us the beauty of our world, before or after the apocalypse, protected or on the brink of destruction, blooming in pristine rainforests or sprouting from cracks in the concrete. We all fear a barren future; but let’s not forget, every now and then, to take a real look at that environment we so want protect.

I will consider exceptional stories that fall somewhat outside of that theme, as long as they address the topic of environmental justice.

Want to know more? (not required reading, but it might help)

We strongly prefer stories that reflect the complexity of environmental issues. Some tropes, such as ‘Humans are monsters/parasites and someone needs to save the earth from them’ or ‘Climate change is really being caused by aliens/a mad scientist/a magical creature’ tend to steer stories towards over-simplification. Others, such as eco-terrorism or ‘Out-of-touch city-born environmentalists confront down-to-earth realistic locals’ are outright harmful, in a time when environmentalists are routinely dismissed, attacked or murdered on the grounds that they are ‘fanatics.’ If your story uses these tropes, please think carefully about whether it still portrays environmental justice in a nuanced, sensitive way.

Read the full guidelines and submit here. And Leah Bobet’s call for poetry is here.

Reckoning 5 Submission Call – Poetry

For Reckoning 5, I’m looking for poems which move in concert with fiction editor Cécile Cristofari’s call for work that spotlights the moments of environmental beauty we’re living in right now, holding close to our hearts, or carefully cultivating in the back corner lot twice a day, on the way to and from the streetcar.

The little seed you’re carrying around, waiting to replant. The spaces cupped full of joy in motion. Something holy in your pocket; a little-god reminder of why we do the work and what’s worth working for. That which is coming. That which has been quietly growing all along. That which is beautiful amidst the noise—all seen through the lens of environmental justice.

I have a soft spot for formal poetry done in a way where your voice slips free, but would love to see your free verse, translations, little epics, concrete poetry, speculative poetry, all the things I couldn’t even think up right now to list, and most importantly, the unique texture of your own voice.

If you’re working in a form or tradition you aren’t sure I’ll culturally grasp: please, tell me about it in your cover letter. I’ll ask the followup questions necessary to meet you halfway.

I will consider exceptional work that falls slightly outside of the theme or spins it in unexpected ways as long as it stays firmly centred on the topic of environmental justice.

Up to five poems per submission welcomed, and thank you in advance for your work.

Read the full guidelines and submit here. And Cécile Cristofari’s call for fiction and nonfiction is here.

Reckoning 4 Submission Call – Poetry

I welcome poems that address our fiction editor Arkady Martine’s call for stories about “the relationship of humans to the built environment,” but more than that I seek poetry that moves beyond rant and beyond the obvious (i.e. oil spills are bad). I want to be surprised by form, content, and language. You can disappear your ego entirely or write from the personal, as long as it’s searingly so, visceral, I want to feel something.

Speculative poetry? Absolutely. Narrative? If it still surprises. Rhyming? You can try, but it must feel organic. If it brings your idiosyncratic understanding of the world as a consequence of humanity’s relationship with the earth, and brings something new to form or content, I’d love to see it.

Read the full guidelines and submit here.

Reckoning 4 Submission Call – Fiction/Nonfiction

For Reckoning 4, I am specifically seeking works which address the relationship of humans to the built environment: the city as organism; climate-changed urban spaces; architecture as environmental in/justice; the point of contact where human alteration and ecological alteration touch; fantasias of density and of absence; blurs between organic and inorganic forms, places, and persons. Etcetera.

I am primarily looking for fiction, but am also interested in creative nonfiction on the above theme. A speculative element is preferred, but not necessary, for fiction. I will also consider work that falls outside the theme if it is otherwise deeply compelling and fits Reckoning’s general guidelines.

Read the full guidelines and submit here.