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Elegy: Special Issue

Deadline for submissions: February 24, 2017

Callaloo invites papers for a special issue on Elegy guest edited by Joshua Bennett (Harvard University)

Who cannot think
our elegies are endless endlessly
and the words
we put to them too often unheard and hurried?
-Terrance Hayes


We don't die. We multiply.
-Robbin Harris

Project Description:

How do those said to be dead already mourn? Given the recent critical turns toward theories of social death (Patterson, Wilderson, Sexton), civic death (Dayan), and necropolitics (Mbembe) as ways of thinking the enfleshed, material effects of slavery and its afterlives—as well as the long history within black expressive cultures globally of thinking life and nonlife not as antipodal points of a set binary, but rather overlapping modalities always already in flux—how might we enlist the resources that literatures of the African diaspora make available in order to theorize death and dying, life and living, anew? Put somewhat differently, in the midst of a historical moment marked by the serial repetition of images of black death, or else black life under extreme duress, black life in constant flight from the laser-like precision of modernity’s glare, what can elegy offer? How might it function not only as an occasion for gathering and remembrance, but also as an instrument of abolition; a means through which we might meditate on the lives of the fallen, as well as imagine a world liberated from the myriad forms of systemic violence that make those at the bottommost rungs of the racial caste system ostensibly ungrievable? Those who, as Audre Lorde reminds us, were never meant to survive?

Thus, in the spirit of both Conrad Kent Rivers’s claim that “to live day by day/is not to live at all” and Gwendolyn Brooks’s call in “Second Sermon on the Warpland” to “Nevertheless, live,” this special issue of Callaloo will accept essays, poetry, and visual art on the following range of topics:

  • Elegy in the African Diaspora
  • Theories of social death, social life
  • Thanatopoetics
  • Abolitionist thought
  • Racial discourses of life philosophy
  • Mourning & melancholia
  • Funeral practices throughout the African Diaspora
  • Death & performance
  • Death & the posthuman
  • Death & the speculative

Callaloo Submission Guidelines:

Manuscripts must be submitted online through the Callaloo manuscript submission system by February 24, 2017. Please see the submission guidelines here:
http://callaloo.expressacademic.org/login.php. In order to submit a manuscript, you must register with the online system. The registration process will only take a few minutes. All manuscripts will follow the usual review process for submissions, and the Callaloo editor makes all final editorial decisions. Please note all manuscripts must follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd Edition) and include in-text citations, a works cited, and endnotes for any commentary.

Please direct questions or other correspondence to the Guest Editor for this issue:
Joshua Bennett (Joshua.b.bennett@gmail.com)

Guest Editor:

Dr. Joshua Bennett is the author of The Sobbing School (Penguin, 2016). He holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University and an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick, where he was a Marshall Scholar. In 2010, Dr. Bennett delivered the Commencement Address at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with the distinctions of Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.


Winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series, Dr. Bennett has received fellowships from the CALLALOO CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP, Cave Canem, the Josephine de Karman Fellowship Trust, and the Ford Foundation. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Callaloo, The Kenyon Review, Poetry and elsewhere. He is currently a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University.

PDF Link: Elegy CFP




Sherley Anne Williams: Special Issue

Deadline for submissions: August 1, 2017

Callaloo invites papers for a special issue devoted to the life and work of the late poet, fiction writer, playwright, and scholar, Sherley Anne Williams. Guest editor: Wendy W. Walters (Emerson College).

Project Description:

Sherley Anne Williams was a talented author/scholar, publishing in many genres. Her novel, Dessa Rose, preceded Toni Morrison’s Beloved by one year and has been read as an inaugural example of the neo-slave narrative genre. Her short fiction is anthologized in multiple collections. Williams's first book of poetry, The Peacock Poems (Wesleyan 1975), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Her second poetry book, Some One Sweet Angel Chile (William Morrow 1982) was also nominated for a National Book Award. Her prose poem, “Letters from a New England Negro,” published in Iowa Review, became a one-woman drama, and was performed at several important theatre festivals. Williams also published two children’s books in the 1990s. Working Cotton received both a Caldecott Award and a Coretta Scott King Book Award. Her second children’s book, Girls Together (HBJ), was published in 1999.

New essays on any aspect of Sherley Anne Williams's writing are sought, from a variety of critical and interpretive perspectives. Specific topics and themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • blues idioms; language; orality; music
  • gender studies; black womanist theory
  • depictions of nature; ecocritical readings
  • sexuality and the erotic
  • dramatic collaborations; adaptation of poetry to stage/screen
  • Working Cotton, and Girls Together, and multicultural children's literature
  • working class literature; agricultural labor
  • reconsidering the neoslave narrative; historical/archival revision
  • geography; migration; diaspora
  • critical race theory

Callaloo Submission Guidelines:

Manuscripts must be submitted online through the Callaloo manuscript submission system by August 1, 2017. Please see the submission guidelines here:
http://callaloo.expressacademic.org/login.php. In order to submit a manuscript, you must register with the online system. The registration process will only take a few minutes. All manuscripts will follow the usual review process for submissions, and the Callaloo editor makes all final editorial decisions. Please note all manuscripts must follow the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd Edition) and include in-text citations, a works cited, and endnotes for any commentary.

Guest Editor:

Wendy W. Walters is a Professor in the department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing, at Emerson College, Boston, teaching courses in African American and African Diaspora literature and culture. She is the author of two books, Archives of the Black Atlantic: Reading Between Literature and History (Routledge, March 2013), and At Home in Diaspora: Black International Literature (U of Minnesota, 2005). She has also published articles in Callaloo, American Literature, African American Review, Novel, and MELUS.

PDF Link: Sherley Anne Williams CFP

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