What Rough Beast features poems in response to the Trump administration. The series has a political premise: (1) Donald J. Trump was unfit even to seek the nomination, and by all appearances is unfit to serve as president of the United States; (2) the new Trump administration poses dire risks to racial justice, civil rights, voting rights, organized labor, economic justice, women's right, abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, public education, climate change, nuclear proliferation, international diplomacy, and more; (3) this shit is scary.
All of that being said, Indolent Books and the What Rough Beast series value poetry that uses all the resources of poetry. We do not want poems about Trump per se—definitely not childish attacks on his hair, hands, or anything of that sort. We do not want poems that lament how awful it is that Trump got elected. WE DO WANT POEMS about the political issues, the national mood, etc. Not every poem needs to be a pointed critique. Pointed critique is allowed, but the poem must always above all be a good poem, using the resources of poetry, such as metaphor, imagery, form, and to borrow the four temperaments of Gregory Orr, story, structure, music, and imagination. A rant is not a poem—unless it is. It's all in the craft. Please be crafty, and in the timeless words of Emily Dickinson, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant."
IMPORTANT: Poems submitted for this series must be new, previously unpublished, and should ideally have been written consciously and deliberately to address the topic of the series. A great poem that happens to fit the theme is not totally out of the question, but we believe the series will be stronger if it is made up of poems written specifically for the series.
SUBMIT up to 10 poems or 10 pages of poetry in a Word file. NOT PDF. Word.
INCLUDE a brief bio that includes in the following order: Any books published; any journals in which poems have appeared; any anthologies in which poems have appeared; a few other personal or professional details of your choice.
We are posting a poem a day for Nov. 1, 2018 to World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, 2018.
Submissions by poets living with HIV are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED but poets do not have to be HIV-positive to submit. Any beautiful poem will be considered but we will give preference to poems that relate to HIV and AIDS in some way: HIV testing, HIV treatment, HIV prevention, HIV shame, HIV stigma, living with HIV, living in fear of HIV, being on ART, being on PrEP, using condoms, not using condoms, being the HIV-negative partner of an HIV-positive person, etc. STRONGLY INTERESTED in poems about HIV and AIDS as social justice issues: the racialization of HIV, the criminalization of HIV, transphobia and HIV, HIV shaming, HIV stigma, etc.
All that being said, we prefer poems of music and imagination over poems of strict biography and narrative. Check out the pieces posted in November 2017 to get a sense of what we are looking for. Submit up to 10 poems or 10 pages of poetry.