Contrary

Submissions Form

“Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will invest in new perceptions. I will combine and recombine and fabricate and juggle until something that I have never experienced is experienced. The process is alchemical. The process is violent. It goes to the heart of creativity. It disrupts and shatters. It is splendid with provocation. It is an aggression against banality. It is sharp and loud like a janitor scraping frost from a window. The hectic bounce of steam on a street after a truck roars by. The anarchy of waters, the comedy of the face, dangerous feelings vented from a cage of skin.” ~ John Olson

Poetry — We believe poetry is contrary by nature, always defying, always tonguing the tang of novelty. We look especially for plurality of meaning, for dual reverberation of beauty and concern. Contrary’s poetry in particular often mimics the effects of fiction or commentary. We find ourselves enamored of prose poems because they are naturally contrary toward form – they tug on the forces of exposition or narrative – but prose poems remain the minority of all the poetic forms we publish. Please consider that Contrary receives vast amounts of poetry and that we can publish only a small percentage of that work. Please submit no more than three poems per issue. Our poetry editor is Shaindel Beers.

Fiction — We ask our fiction writers to imagine their readers navigating a story with one finger poised over a mouse button. Can your story stay that finger to the end? We have published long stories on the belief that they succeed, but we feel more comfortable with the concise. We favor fiction that is contrary in any number of ways, but our fiction typically defies traditional story form. A story may bring us to closure, for example, without ever delivering an ending. It may be as poetic as any poem. Our fiction editor is Frances Badgett.

Lyrical commentary/creative non-fiction —“Commentary” is our word for the stuff that others define negatively as non-fiction, nominally as essay, or naively as truth. We favor commentary that delivers a message less through exposition than through artistry. The commentary we select is often lyrical, narrative, or poetic. Examples from our pages include “Plum Island” by Andrew Coburn, “Ascension” by Kevin Heath, and “Three True Stories” by Jennifer DeLisle. Our commentary editor is Jeff McMahon.

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