Birkensnake 6 was edited in
different versions by six seven different pairs of editors,
strangers to each other until they signed on to this project:
- Elan Lafontaine and Benny Lichtner
- Megan Milks and Miodrag Kojadinovic
- Diana George and Hedy Zimra
- J. A. Tyler and Yongie Jung
- Liz Hahn and Amber Dorko Stopper
- Brian Warfield
- Emily Kiernan and Carol Samson
On this page you will find the submission guidelines for each version of Birkensnake 6. Submissions for these issues are now closed; this page is for historical purposes only. If you have written some fiction, we suggest submitting it to the current issue of Birkensnake. To read more about the Birkensnake 6 project, try here.
Diana George and Hedy Zimra, Editors
We’re strangers; this is less the issue’s theme than our condition. We are looking for fiction that is rare, difficult, and arresting. Maybe we’d like to see stories in which voice dies or murmur continues. Stories that ask their readers to maintain a real fidelity to a fictional oath would interest us. Or none of these; forget about cranking out the aforementioned literary deliverables. Send us stories that are strangers.
We think it only fair to tell you that one of us died before this call for submissions was written. So we’re also interested in absence, debts of gratitude, and unasked-for and unrepayable gifts (for example, life).
Deadline: June 1, 2013, at http://strangebirkensnake.submittable.com/submit.
The Shapes of Words and the Meanings of Sounds: Yongie Jung and J. A. Tyler, Editors
This is the bilingual edition. We are Yongie Jung and J. A. Tyler. We are looking for works of both poetry and prose in both Korean and English.
If you submit something in either Korean or English, we will translate it into the other language, and your work will appear in the magazine in both languages — original and translated.
The theme for this edition is: The Shapes of Words and the Meanings of Sounds.
When I say “I know X”, I’m really saying that something within me forms a known intersection with something within X. For instance if I say “I know Spring” I am saying I have lived through Spring’s innards, know what things within Spring make Spring Spring — know to call Spring by her name which is “Spring.” My experience of Spring and my knowledge of Spring bind us, Spring and me, into a relationship in which we are known to each other.
The two people collecting and choosing the submissions don’t know each other. Our sole intersection comprises the existence of an internet connection and the yet unknown submissions. Yongie is in Korea, James is in America, Yongie knows Korean, James knows English. We have decided to curate a bilingual magazine: to embark on the mission of translation.
Translation relies on a strange intersection. The intersection that allows translation to exist is suspended in a space that is “neither Korean nor English” but is also “both English and Korean”. We may glimpse that space perhaps if we carve away the obtuse shapes of words and the sounds tied to them. We are calling for your help to find the shores of this space.
What does our mission consist of?
For instance the letter “A” is just three sticks strategically placed. Throw three sticks and they clatter on pavement with a messy noise and skip on the gravel with hollow resonance. Then we must find what meaning is hidden in that messy noise and hollow resonance. Perspective vanishes when eyes close but hearing persists no matter how hard ears have been plugged. Even if hearing is unavailable, touch is inevitable upon contact. So find the thing that rings most viscerally, closer to the skin than the shapes of words, and translate it back into newer words. This is basically a mission to find the most original shape of language, isn’t it? As for what narrative best suits that shape that is really up to you to create!
Updates: blog, Facebook; Korean!
To submit your work, email a PDF or MS Word file to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight of April 20th, 2013. To submit poetry, send us at least three poems. To submit prose or fiction, send us at least 500 words.
Neverending Tales: Megan Milks and Miodrag Kojadinovic, Editors
We seek short fiction for a Birkensnake 6 devoted to endlessness. That is, we seek fiction that doesn’t end — for instance, cyclical and/or recursive stories, narratives formed after fractals or the ouroboros, whatever neverending forms you can come up with; as well as fiction that explores that which has no end — for instance, stories involving outer space, reincarnation, hauntings, the horoscope, a subway system without end, the experience of neverending displacement, Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, Dino Buzzati’s Seven Messengers, the US War in Iraq, the North Atlantic Garbage Patch … basically anything dealing with the infinite, the immortal, the recurring, the asymptotic, the nomadic, the circuitous, and the moebian.
Send fiction of 8 to 8888 words by March 15, 2013 to our online submissions manager. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com with questions or for further information.
Crossing Thresholds: Brian Warfield, Editor
“Liminality may perhaps be regarded as the Nay to all positive structural assertions, but as in some sense the source of them all, and, more than that, as a realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations may arise.” —Victor Turner
We are interested in stories that fall outside traditional story-telling tropes. Liminal stories of people who do not consider themselves writers or who write primarily for themselves. We are also interested in the public facet of street art, writing that belongs to everyone. We want to take these stories not meant to be published and publish them. How does a work change when considering intention, exposure, alteration of audience?
Some of our influences which exemplify the kind of writing we are looking for are: Henry Darger, Hipolito from Amelie, Simon Grim from Henry Fool, early internet websites that played with infinite space (eg: schwa, old radiohead sites), indie-pressed vinyl, found writing, Toynbee tiles, Charles Crumb, Tao Lin’s top 10 unpublished articles, lost writing, etc.
We are looking for pieces that have emerged from each author’s unique structural conditions, currently exist in a liminal state based on lack-of-intention-to-publish or percieved-otherness, and will now take their place within the unique structure that they form together that we will dub Birkensnake 6.
If you just want to contact us for further information or to discuss the project, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit through Submittable.
Elan Lafontaine and Benny Lichtner, Editors
“If the material of thought is symbolism, then the thinking organism must be forever furnishing symbolic versions of its experiences, in order to let thinking proceed … it is not the essential act of thought that is symbolization, but an act essential to thought, and prior to it … The symbol-making function is one of man's primary activities, like eating, looking, or moving about. It is the fundamental process of his mind, and goes on all the time. Sometimes we are aware of it, sometimes we merely find its results, and realize that certain experiences have passed through our brains and have been digested there.”
Please send all submissions to Dina Russel. All questions regarding submissions can be directed to Dina Russel.
Wild Conformations: Liz Hahn and Amber Dorko Stopper, Editors
Birkensnake 6: Wild Conformations is looking for authors who are interested in creating new pieces of short fiction (5,000 words or less) exploring the conventions and organizing principles of established fiction genres (romance, western, crime, horror, or you suggest some) from an outsider’s perspective.
This can, and hopefully will, include bringing different national and cultural perspectives to familiar US commercial genres, as well as providing individual author experiments in a “non-native” genre format.
Pieces published in Birkensnake 6: Wild Conformations may be stand-alone fiction pieces, excerpts, or serial installments. (We do not necessarily know how we would make that work but we are interested in tackling it.) If you would like to be assigned a genre to work in, we can do that. If you know of a genre that is different than the standard American fare and want to bring it to us, we are excited.
We do want writers with humor, but we’re not looking for satire. The goal is to have fun, not make fun. Writers of literary and experimental fiction are encouraged to submit. Ursula K. Le Guin says it’s okay.
If you are an international genre fiction writer, and/or if you are willing to take on conventions outside your usual style and go for broke writing in an unfamiliar genre, we want to hear from you.
Thing Theory: Carol Samson and Emily Kiernan, Editors
We are looking for prose work that considers the phenomenal world by examining specific solid objects. We want to find pieces (perhaps shorter pieces no longer than 3,000 words) that consider the way objects “present” themselves to us, the way we must render the three-dimensional world in two-dimensional space. We acknowledge that some transcription errors will be made in this process, and we encourage the breaking of patterns, the metaphoric jam, the reverse stitch, the purling. We are interested in the lopsidedly poetic, in language that rises from the page. We like ekphrastic exercise and careful foregrounding. We are inspired by menageries and Cornell boxes. Give us the language of things, or writing where the language is the thing.
From the submissions, we will look for work that is self-contained, with a center of its own, and, then, like museum curators, we will look for mirrorings and lateral shifts among the pieces, determining the focus of the collection by examining the artifacts in detail. We want the collection to offer up an exhibit of solid things that speak, that catch our eye, that presence.
Please submit a pdf of your work prior to June 1st, 2013 via our online submissions manager.
Occasional updates on our work may be found here.