Ecotone

Black Lives Matter: Resources for Community Support

We at Ecotone stand in solidarity with those protesting police brutality against black people, Indigenous people, and people of color, and fighting to eradicate the systemic racism endemic to the United States. We endorse and are thankful for this statement offered by the Offing, which reads, in part:

We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand with the grassroots organizations who have been doing this hard work. WE STAND WITH THE PEOPLE.

Below are some resources for taking action and supporting folks who are protesting, in North Carolina and beyond, as well as communities who continue to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Emancipate NC’s Freedom Fighter Bond Fund has a long history of supporting activists arrested in civil disobedience in North Carolina. If you like, you can tag your donation to prioritize the bailing out and legal defense of activists working to effect change across North Carolina.

The ACLU of North Carolina works in courts, the General Assembly, and communities to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all North Carolinians. A recent lawsuit they brought seeks an overhaul of Alamance County’s cash bail system, which they argue discriminates against poor people. The ACLU also offers a guide to protesters’ rights.

The National Lawyers Guild South is offering pro bono legal representation for protesters across the region. They are also looking for donations for a fund that invests in a new generation of radical lawyers, advocates and law students; and a community that embraces a politic of black leadership, queer love, immigrants & refugees, anti-capitalism, and disruption of white supremacy culture.

Southerners on New Ground “builds a beloved community of LGBTQ people in the South who are ready and willing to do their part to challenge oppression in order to bring about liberation for ALL people.” Among many actions and events, their Race Traitors summer call series invites white SONG members “to build connection, accountability, and relationship with other SONG members so we can fight together.”

The National Bail Out Collective is a black-led and black-centered collective to end systems of mass incarceration. Because people who are incarcerated cannot practice social distancing, the collective is accelerating its efforts to free people from jails, prisons, and detention centers. Donations help to bail out marginalized folks, with a focus on black caregivers. The organization is currently focusing its funds towards bailing out protestors, providing legal fees, and providing assistance to bail out groups around the country.

Campaign Zero, which is also accepting donations, has a comprehensive guide to policies that aim to correct broken-windows policing, excessive force, racial profiling, for-profit policing, cash bail, and much more. Familiarize yourself with laws in your area, and contact your representatives—at the local, state, and national level—to press them for their plans on ending discrimination in law enforcement.

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice works with historic black colleges and universities to promote the rights of all people to be free from environmental harm as it impacts health, jobs, housing, education, and general quality of life. A major goal of the center continues to be the development of leaders in communities of color along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and the broader Gulf Coast Region, which are disproportionately harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers this Black Lives Matter reading list. We’d encourage you to purchase these books from black-owned bookstores, like Shelves Bookstore in Charlotte, North Carolina, or borrow them from your local library once it is safe to do so again. A number of publishers are also offering antiracist reading for free, including these free ebooks from Verso Books, among them Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter, edited by Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton.

Through the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, set up by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate directly in support of BIPOC artists and administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal and temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19.

A number of writers and editors are offering gratis support for black writers—manuscript reviewing, editing, advice for pitches, and more. Find a list here.

This post was compiled by Ecotone managing editor Rachel Taube.

 

Earth Day and every day, supporting communities

Masonboro Island, NC. Photo by Lucasmj, CC BY 2.0

This Earth Day, we’re thinking about the many artists and other workers who have lost their livelihoods, or seen them greatly depleted, as speaking, teaching, and performance engagements are cancelled around the country. Delayed projects, layoffs, furloughs, and unpaid leave are affecting our peers in the arts community and beyond. When it’s hard to meet basic needs, it can be even harder to advocate for environmental and social justice.

If you’re in a situation where you can and would like to help those who have been affected in this way, here are some organizations to consider. These are also, of course, excellent resources for those who wish to apply for support. Though this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it offers some places to begin.

The National Endowment for the Arts, a longtime supporter of Ecotone, Lookout Books, and so many other arts organizations, has made CARES Act grants available for organizations affected during this time. The initial deadline is April 22(!), and application and details can be found at arts.gov. State and local arts councils are offering support as well—the North Carolina Arts Council, for example, has a thoughtful statement and this excellent list of resources.

Through the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund, set up by the Arts Administrators of Color Network, folks can donate directly in support of BIPOC artists and administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal and temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19.

Creative Capital has joined forces with several national arts grantmakers to form Artist Relief—an initiative that includes immediate, unrestricted emergency funding of $5,000 for individual artists of all disciplines, and resources to help those in need due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more at artistrelief.org.

The NC Artists Relief Fund was created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. One hundred percent of donated funds will go directly to artists in North Carolina. Musicians, visual artists, actors, DJ’s, dancers, teaching artists, filmmakers, comedians, and other creative individuals and arts presenters are experiencing widespread cancellations due to this global pandemic. Given the overwhelming amount of need, this fund will also prioritize the most vulnerable artists among us: artists of color, queer artists, and artists with disabilities.

The Coffee House Writers Project, inspired by the WPA Federal Writers Project of the 1930s, is an initiative from Coffee House Press to commission new, short digital-only literary works from writers whose ability to support themselves has been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. They’ll soon begin sharing new writing twice a month.

Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger. If you’d like to make sure your donation supports your local community, you can use this site to locate your closest food bank and make a direct donation.

For folks in the South, the excellent Scalawag magazine  has a list of regional mutual aid efforts that is well worth checking out.

350.org has a special place in our hearts because our local chapter is led by students in the UNCW’s MFA program—one of whom is Ecotone’s poetry editor. 350.org is an international movement that works to mitigate the climate crisis, and to build a world of community-led renewable energy for all. The organization argues that we cannot deal with the COVID-19 crisis by making the climate crisis and global inequality worse—and that a just recovery will acknowledge these interwoven crises.

The National Bail Out Collective is a Black-led and Black-centered collective to end systems of mass incarceration. Because people who are incarcerated cannot practice social distancing, the collective is accelerating its efforts to free people from jails, prisons, and detention centers. Donations help to bail out marginalized folks, with a focus on Black caregivers.

And finally, a shout-out to one of our favorite entities: the US Post Office. While many people in the United States and around the world are staying home, postal workers are delivering people’s prescriptions, keeping small and local enterprises in business, and connecting families—not to mention delivering reading material from literary magazines and independent presses! The COVID-19 shutdown is causing postal revenues to plummet even as costs increase, and the US postal service could run out of money as early as June. Some ways to support this vital service can be found at savethepostoffice.com. You can also, as always, buy postage and send packages to family and friends—and you can do all that no contact, online and, from many addresses, using USPS’s package pickup service.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

This post was compiled by Ecotone managing editor Rachel Taube.

On Teaching: Carlina Duan

This month we’re delighted to debut the first of our Teach Ecotone guides. Each guide includes discussion questions, writing prompts, and activities focused on specific issues of Ecotone. Our featured instructor today is writer and educator Carlina Duan, whose one-week guide to the Craft Issue offers new ways to think about image and place, leaping off from Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s essay “Monsoon and Peacock.” The guide is available on the Ecotone website and as a PDF for download. As you prepare for spring classes, we hope you’ll check it out!

Here’s Carlina on teaching:

I entered writing through an incredible constellation of teachers, who saw me for who and where I was: curious, cautious, hungry for new light. Being a student—within the space of a traditional classroom and beyond it—opened my world to a community of thought. It gave me opportunities to reflect upon and challenge my interior life. Ani DiFranco sings, “The alphabet took us on a wild goose chase.” In teaching, I hope to make space for the wild, the joyous, the strange, and the unknown. I hope to celebrate reflection, and to invite contradictions. I hope to see my students for who they are and where they are, to continue growing and questioning along with them.

 

Launch party and broadside printing demo at AWP!

Here’s something we’ve been scheming about for a while: in honor of Ecotone poetry editor Jason Bradford, and his mother, Shirley Niedermann, we’re printing a series of broadsides of work from the magazine. Rory Sparks, who designed and printed our Craft Issue cover and those sweet bookmarks that came with the issue, is the printer for the first two broadsides in the series, which will feature Cortney Lamar Charleston’s “Doppelgangbanger” and Molly Tenenbaum’s “This Poem Contains No Natural Fibers.”

We’re having a party to celebrate these as well as Ecotone‘s latest issue and the new anthology from Lookout Books, Trespass: Ecotone Essayists Beyond the Boundaries of Place, Identity, and Feminism! Join us on Saturday, March 30, from 6:00–7:30, at the PNCA Print Studio.

Cortney and Molly will read, and Rory will host a letterpress printing demo for anyone who wants to try out printing the last run on a broadside.

Door prizes will include broadsides and copies of our publications. Light refreshments will be served.

Find us at the Print Studio, Pacific Northwest College of the Arts, 511 NW Broadway, Room 257 (second floor). It’s a six-minute drive or a 10-minute MAX ride from the Oregon Convention Center.

Come celebrate with Ecotone and Lookout staff and authors!

Fourteen lines for fourteen years

A card with instructions for writing sonnets, from A Pocket Book of Forms, on a table next to an ink pen

For Ecotone’s fall 2019 Love Issue, on our fourteenth anniversary, we’re looking for fine poems in fourteen-line forms: sonnets of all kinds, rondels prime (aka rondels supreme), and brefs double. We’ll be open to poetry submissions all day on Valentine’s Day, on which date we will consider poems in these fourteen-line forms only.

We’d like to see meter well used—which is to say, legible and smart and messed with, sometimes—and not just iambs, for we see a paucity of trochees and triple meters and accentual work around here. The full call for work for the Love Issue is here: ecotonemagazine.org/submissions/upcoming-issues/ —and our complete guidelines are here: ecotonemagazine.org/submissions/

Please send us your best of these, and help us spread the word!

Rondel prime (or supreme)

The rondel prime is a plain old rondel (though what rondel is plain old?) with an added final line. It goes like this—

ABba abAB abbaAB

—where initial-capped letters are refrain lines and lower-case letters are rhymes. Most meters work well for a rondel, we reckon.

Bref double

The bref double consists of three quatrains and a final couplet, much like a Shakespearean sonnet. There are three rhymes, noted a, b, and c. The a and b rhymes each appear twice in each of the first three stanzas—not necessarily, per Lewis Turco’s A Book of Forms, at the end of a line—and once each in the final couplet. The last line of each quatrain ends with a c rhyme. Lines should be of (roughly) equal length, but there’s no set meter for the bref double.

Sonnet

The card shown above gives the basics for Petrarchan—often abba abba cdecde—and Shakespearean—abab cdcd efef gg—sonnets. There are so many resources for sonnet-writing that we won’t say more here, except that two sonnets we’ve loved recently are this one, from Anna Maria Hong, and this one, from Cortney Lamar Charleston; we are interested in terza rima sonnets, Sicilian sonnets, etc., along with the more usual varieties; and we’d love to read sonnets in any meter. Also, we sure would like to see a crown or two.

A note

As always, we read submitted work with all upcoming issues in mind—so if you submit work with this theme issue in mind, if we love it but can’t fit it in Love, we’ll be in touch about publishing it in another of our upcoming issues.

Quatorzains forever!

After the Storms

Water flowing out of the Cape Fear River on Sept. 17, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. This photo was taken from a North Carolina National Guard helicopter, as part of a daily search for people in distress. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)

Hurricane season for the Atlantic officially ended on Friday, November 30th, but the effects of Hurricanes Florence and Michael—and Matthew in 2016—on Wilmington and nearby communities are still ongoing.

Over the weekend of September 14, Hurricane Florence dumped nearly three feet of rain on our town. Our home institution, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, was closed for a month, the longest it has ever been closed for a weather event.

We were lucky: the extent of the damage for Ecotone and Lookout’s offices was a few leaky ceiling tiles, and many lost hours of reading, editing, and production. We’re grateful to the subscribers and submitters and contributors who supported us during that time, and who have been so patient as we’ve gotten back on our feet. We’re thrilled about the release of Trespass, the new Lookout Books anthology of essays from Ecotone, this month—and thrilled, too, about publishing our newest issue, the Body Issue.

So many in North Carolina and elsewhere suffered far more serious losses—of homes and livelihoods, of access to safe drinking water and mold-free living spaces. Thirty-seven people in North Carolina lost their lives to Florence. Rivers flooded to record-setting heights, and as the waters, polluted with hog waste and coal ash, receded, they left dead fish along I-40, millions of dollars of damage in their wake, and uncertainties about the health of the river and surrounding ecosystems.

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Join Ecotone Contributors at Split This Rock Poetry Festival this weekend!

Ecotone heads to DC this weekend for the 2018 Split This Rock Poetry Festival! Check out our contributors presenting and reading! Will we see you there? Find us at the Social Change Book Fair on Saturday.

Thursday, April 19

Ghost Fishing Book Launch (Reading & Discussion)
Presenters: Melissa A. Tuckey and readers Hayes Davis, Camille T. Dungy, Everett Hoagland, Tiffany Higgins, Elizabeth Jacobson, Nancy K. Pearson, Gretchen Primack, Katy Richey, Purvi Shah, Danez Smith, Javier Zamora
1:30 – 3 p.m. | National Housing Center Auditorium

Many good things come out of Split This Rock Festival interactions and panel discussions—we’re proud to celebrate the birth of one! Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology was conceived as a result of a panel Split This Rock Co-Founder Melissa Tuckey hosted on June Jordan and environmental justice poetry back in 2012. Many, many months later, this groundbreaking book is at last in print! Pushing back against colonizing ideas of nature as unpeopled wilderness, Ghost Fishing presents a rich terrain of culturally diverse perspectives on issues of environmental crisis and resistance. Grounded in social justice and the belief that all beings have the right to a healthy, safe environment and home, this culturally diverse collection engages with many of the most pressing issues of our time, while also offering hope around our shared future. Come celebrate this necessary and inspiring book and help us think about how to get it out in communities. Bring a copy and get it signed by poets and the editor!

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Behind the Scenes: “What We Fed to the Manticore”

At Ecotone, we carefully consider interior layout, text treatment, and design because we want the held object to be a pleasing vehicle for the written content. The Ecotone design team works to create an individualized design for each opening page of fiction and nonfiction. They are charged with creating a visual feel, considering images and type, to accompany and amplify the impact of the piece. In this blog department, staff designers highlight past Ecotone spread designs that inspire them, and discuss design principles they incorporate in their work.

Ecotone staffer Alexis Olson considers Talia Lakshmi Kolluri’s “What We Fed to the Manticore” spread from Issue 21, designed by Morgan Davis.

The blend of hand-lettering and photography really draws me to this design. “What We Fed to the Manticore” is grounded in place, much like the spread is grounded by the mangrove roots. I love how the shape of the letterforms mimic the flow of water or silt while acknowledging the playfulness of the story’s animal first-person point of view. The mangrove roots were designed by taking the original image via Flickr and using the magnetic lasso in Photoshop to eliminate the background. This isolates the creeping roots of the tree while leaving plenty of white space for the text to live in. The image, title, attribution, and text work together to communicate a fantastical tone, perfectly complementing the story.

Seven Questions for Rachel Z. Arndt

In Seven Questions, we interview writers, editors, designers, and others in publishing. Today, we interview Rachel Z. Arndt, whose essay “Wind” is forthcoming in Ecotone 25. She received MFAs in nonfiction and poetry from the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and nonfiction editor of the Iowa Review. Her writing appears in Popular Mechanics, Quartz, Pank, Fast Company, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago. Her essay collection Beyond Measure, comes out this week from Sarabande.

Your book, Beyond Measure, is an exploration of the rituals, routines, metrics, and expectations through which we attempt to quantify and ascribe value to our lives. Do you practice any rituals when it comes to your writing, and if so, what can you share with us about them? 

I’m militant about the pens I write with: Uni-ball Vision Exact micro (in black). The problem is these pens were discontinued years ago, which I started to realize—and deny—the last year I lived in New York. Toward the tail end of that year, after I decided to move halfway across the country for grad school, I checked my Ziploc-bagged stash, saw I was running low, and went online. I scoured office supply stores, specialty writing utensil stores, and school supply stores. No dice. So I went to eBay and ordered maybe thirty of them. As long as they got me through school, I told myself, I’d be fine. They did.

I’m also pretty militant about my notebooks: blank 5-inch by 8.25-inch Moleskines. Lines distract me. Plus, I pride myself on being able to write in straight lines, a skill I’ve been perfecting since middle school math class. If the writing’s no good, at least it looks good.

These are, I realize, coping mechanisms for dealing with writers’ block and crankiness and off days when everything comes out clunky and abstract. They are coping mechanisms, that is, for the loss of control that’s inherently part of writing—a loss that’s strange, given nonfiction’s adherence to hard and fast facts, but a loss that makes sense when you think of writing less as translating the world to text and more as translating one’s experience of the world to text.

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You’re Invited to the Spring Ecotone Frolic!

If you’re in southeastern North Carolina, join us in Wilmington this Friday night, April 6, to celebrate the launch of Ecotone 24, the Craft Issue.

Featuring Emily Larned of ILSSA and the Making Time project, and:

—A mending station, with quilter and copyeditor Laura Poole, and the Ecotone team. Sew on a missing button! Or sew on a fancy extra button!

—Square dance featuring music from Stray Local and caller/Ecotone editor Anna Lena Phillips Bell.

—Cake, of several kinds!

Festivities begin at 7:30, dance at 8:30.

Burnt Mill Creek, 2010 Market Street, Wilmington, NC

Free and open to the public. All are welcome! Suggested donation of $5, or $10 with a copy of the Craft Issue.

For more details or questions, visit our Facebook Invitation. Hope to see you Friday!