Ends on

Editors: Jasmine Elizabeth Smith and Matty Layne Glasgow
Assistant Editors: Jake Skeets and Ashanti Anderson

Open for submissions on January 1, 2024
All submissions are due by March 10, 2024

West has always been more than mere direction, a setting sun,  evening. In lands now known by many as the United States of America,  West invokes a fraught mythology of wilderness and conquest, of destiny  and riches, of jackrabbit homesteads and romantic distances, of cowboys  and bears. For so long these symbols have dominated our histories of  these lands, centering whiteness and masculinity in a rugged, difficult  terrain. But the West and its frontier have always been strange, full of  contradictions, queer even. As Josh Garrett-Davis, a curator, scholar  at the Gene Autry Museum of the American West, posits of the regional  West, “[It is] a borderland—or two-or-more-sided frontier—where old and  new coexist, collaborate, fight, innovate, [holding] ample grounds for  new stories.” 

The West as we understand it has never been uninhabited. People have  thrived in communion with these lands for thousands of years. Flora and  fauna, too. Where some see vacant desert, or land to be occupied for the  next housing development, we cast our eyes upon resilient life, those  who understand the importance of water and resource conservation. In  South Dakota, Indigenous water advocates protest pipeline routes, while  Chicano artists muralize the scar of a border wall with the painting of  roses.

We call contributors to conceive of the West beyond its conventional  and colonialized framework. What happens when the dam breaks, when  waters flow along their pre-colonial course and stewardship is returned  to the original caretakers of the land? There are many ways to  deconstruct a dam, an archetype, to unearth histories long-buried in  sand or alpine forest. The West is multiple and many.

In the next issue of About Place Journal, we invite you to  consider and reimagine all things West. Send us your visual poems and  performances, your experimental stories and essays, your art classified  by no other name than art. As we decenter traditional subjects  and propagandized histories of this ambiguous region, share with us your  witness and protests, your lineages who have lived here longer than the  word itself and this country. We are particularly interested in work  from young, emerging artists (17 and younger), as well as work by BIPOC  and LGBTQIA+ artists, especially those whose stories have been excluded  by a mythology of the west centered on whiteness, masculinity, and  extraction.

Issue Editors

Jasmine Elizabeth Smith is a Black poet and educator  from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She received her MFA from the University  of California, Riverside and is a Cave Canem and Black Earth Institute  Fellow. Her debut collection, South Flight (University of  Georgia Press, 2022), was the recipient of the 2021 Georgia Prize and  finalist for the National Poetry Series. A two-time Pushcart Prize  nominee, Jasmine’s work has been featured in publications such as POETRY, RHINO, and World Literature Today,  among others. Jasmine Elizabeth Smith’s poetic work is a confluence of  poetry of witness, archival research, and radical imagination, in which  constructed narratives of both real and invented characters become a  space in which previously conceived notions of the Black experience can  be challenged, complicated, and dismantled. Merging history and what is  acutely felt from the margins of history, her poetry ranges from Black  love in the peripheral of the Tulsa Race Massacres of 1921, the desires  of Black Americans attempting to find fulfillment and dignity through  the perceived democracy of the The People’s Temple in Guyana, and  subversions of the well-worn tropes of cowboys within the genre of Black  Soul Westerns. 

Matty Layne Glasgow is the author of the collection deciduous qween (Red  Hen Press, 2019), selected by Richard Blanco as the winner of the 2017  Benjamin Saltman Award. He is the Visiting Poet at Westminster  University, a 2022-2025 Black Earth Institute Fellow, a Graduate  Research Fellow in the Tanner Humanities Center, and a PhD Candidate in  Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Utah. He has  coordinated the Wasatch Writers in the Schools Program and he has served  as Editor of Quarterly West. Matty’s poems and essays have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, Denver Quarterly, Ecotone, Gulf Coast, Houston Public Media, the Missouri Review, Pleiades, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. 

Assistant Editors

Jake Skeets (he/him) is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers,  winner of the National Poetry Series, American Book Award, Kate Tufts  Discovery Award, and Whiting Award. His poetry and prose have appeared  widely in journals and magazines such as Poetry, The New York Times, and The Paris Review.  He holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the Institute of American Indian  Arts. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for  Arts Projects, a Mellon Projecting All Voices Fellowship, and the  2023-2024 Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.  He is from the Navajo Nation and teaches at the University of Oklahoma.

Ashanti Anderson is a Black Queer Disabled poet and writer. Ashanti is the author of Black Under,  which won the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition at Black  Lawrence Press. Also a 2023 NEA Fellow and two-time Pushcart Prize  nominee, Ashanti’s poems have appeared in POETRY magazine, World Literature Today,  and elsewhere. Ashanti’s other published and produced works include  essays, stage plays, screenplays, and tabletop roleplaying games  (TTRPGs).

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