Sunday, March 1, 2009
Fringe's Special Enviro Issue debuted today, featuring literary selections with a special focus on green and environmental topics. Fringe isn't the only journal looking toward the environment for inspiration, though.
Ever since Henry David Thoreau famously "roughed" it on the shores of Walden Pond, writers have used their natural surroundings as fuel for their creative fires. Lately, though, this environmental concern seems more omnipresent than ever. While staffing my company's table at AWP, I was surprised by the number of people who asked if we published any nature writing anthologies. We don't, but it got me thinking that it's a good avenue to consider pursuing, since it's obviously a hot button issue that's in demand and in the forefront of our global consciousness.
I also came across two literary journals while at AWP that focus primarily on the natural world. The Fourth River is a journal run out of Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and "welcomes submissions of creative writing that explore the relationship between humans and their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are looking for writings that are richly situated at the confluence of place, space and identity, or that reflect upon or make use of landscape and place in new ways." Instead of the ubiquitous pins and postcards, they were giving away envelopes of wildflower seeds, which I found smart and charming as a marketing tactic.
flyway journal is affiliated with the MFA in Creative Writing and Environment program at Iowa State University and has just recently devoted the journal exclusively to publishing writing about the environment, though the journal is 15 years old and has always been linked to the unique environmental writing program.
One thing I find myself wondering about these two journals is if they are so dedicated to the environment, then why are they both print journals? Shouldn't they consider becoming online only, thus saving the paper, ink, and other environmentally-destructive resources traditional media necessitates? Just a thought...