The Lesbian Body

Seeking poetry, all forms of nonfiction, fiction, hybrid work, art, and photography for a 2018 issue of Sinister Wisdom revolving around the lesbian body, guest edited by poet Tara Shea Burke.

From the provocative to the mundane, the specific to the metaphorical, the relative to the cliché, this issue of Sinister Wisdom will celebrate lesbians and our relationships with and to our bodies, no matter how painful, radically indulgent, seemingly benign, and powerfully personal.

Personal narratives tell and explore the very particular lives of lesbians, how they weave, overlap, include and sometimes exclude. Work featured in this special issue can be rooted in the body but also simply begin and come back to the body as the writer or artist explores any number of topics. For example: animals, land, age, war, family, violence, sex, masturbation, food, nature, city, work, beds, babies, sleep, size, athleticism, health and/or dis-ease, love, hate, creativity, clothing, capitalism, self-harm, self-love, identity and/or identity rejection, embodiment, disembodiment, religion, farming, sex work, sex toys, hair, fingernails, fetishes, footwear—you get the point.

Encompassing as large a range of art and writing as possible, rooted in the very ground metaphor of how we experience the world—through the body—“The Lesbian Body” will penetrate deep truths about the lesbian self directly from the source. How might we better explore and accept an expansive, full-range of lesbian identity from the very messy particulars of everyday consumption, digestion, expulsion, and excretion? Where might we enrich and intersect our understanding of sexuality and identity by breaking down a host of barriers and include what we do with our bodies as perhaps even more enlightening than mere rhetoric and discourse? Can the jeans we choose to wear tell a better story of our complex humanity? Can something be a cliché and still be achingly true between the sheets? Give me your body honesty.

All forms of art and writing are welcome, as are all experiences of lesbian identity. Sinister Wisdom seeks to initiate conversations in a very multi-inclusive and expansive way. This call seeks to do that, too, and is interested in a lesbian experience that includes trans and gender non-conforming people. The body can be both a solid ground from which we stand, as well as an evolving expression. Do you identify as a lesbian, have a body, and want to write about it? Good. I want to hear from you.

Deadline for submission: December 31, 2016

Submission guidelines: Please submit a maximum five poems, two short stories or essays, OR one longer piece of up to 5,000 words.

Tara Shea Burke is from Virginia and lives in the East Mountains of New Mexico with her partner, their dogs, cat, and goats. She has an MFA from Old Dominion University, served as poetry editor for The Quotable and Barely South Review, and volunteers for Sinister Wisdom as a board member and social media manager. Her chapbook Let the Body Beg was published by ELJ Publications in 2014. Published poems can be found in The Fourth River, Prime Number Magazine, Adrienne out of Sibling Rivalry Press, Yellow Chair Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

"Empowerment comes from ideas."

Gloria Anzaldúa

“And the metaphorical lenses we choose are crucial, having the power to magnify, create better focus, and correct our vision.”
― Charlene Carruthers

"Your silence will not protect you."

Audre Lorde

“It’s revolutionary to connect with love”
— Tourmaline

"Gender is the poetry each of us makes out of the language we are taught."

― Leslie Feinberg

“The problem with the use of language of Revolution without praxis is that it promises to change everything while keeping everything the same. “
— Leila Raven