The Ekphrastic Review is an online journal devoted entirely to writing inspired by visual art. They accept submissions every other month, in January, March, May, July, September, November. They also accept submissions for their biweekly ekphrastic prompt on a rolling basis with a deadline two weeks from posting for each new challenge. Prompt submissions must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org instead of the main inbox.
I wondered how and why this journal came to be, so I asked editor and founder Lorette C. Luzajic some questions to find out. See my interview with Luzajic and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Ekphrastic Review.
LUZAJIC: The Ekphrastic Review is an online journal dedicated to writing, reading, and promoting ekphrastic writing. We believe that writing about art teaches us to look more carefully at the world, and appreciate art in deeper ways. It’s one of the best ways to learn about art. We also believe it makes us better writers, giving us endless opportunities to rekindle unexpected memories but also to step outside of ourselves.
We have published hundreds of writers and thousands of ekphrastic poems in our five years online. We want to be the premier archive of ekphrastic writing.
HOPKINSON: How/why was The Ekphrastic Review originally started?
LUZAJIC: I started the Review as a hobby blog simply called Ekphrastic. I intended it to be something more personal. I’m a writer and visual artist, and both of these pursuits fuel the other. The intersection where they meet is really interesting to me. I love poetry and I’m really passionate about art history and learning about art. I believed a fun blog would allow me to explore this niche that combined so many of the things that inspire me and to keep track of them in one place. I wasn’t expecting the avalanche of submissions and letters that came early on, from poets and readers who desperately wanted this outlet. There are a few journals that have ekphrastic features but even fewer that focus solely on the genre.
I changed the name from Ekphrastic to The Ekphrastic Review and began to post consistently. We experimented for awhile with different kinds of prompt events, eventually choosing a single painting every other week, and publishing selected responses on the weeks in between.
There seem to be more opportunities, projects, events, and places for ekphrastic writing now and I hope our humble presence has contributed to that in some way.
What really excited me was the instant worldwide family or community. Like-minded writers, art lovers, and people who wanted to broaden their creative horizons found ourselves connected by the site. We share each other’s work on Facebook. I love how I recognize the names of writers in all kinds of journals because we’ve met through our ekphrastic work.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
LUZAJIC: The target audience has naturally ended up being poets and writers. But we are definitely read by some people who simply love art and want to deepen their perspective and appreciation of art. We would love to have more readers find us who aren’t necessarily poets or writers but want to read about art from truly diverse perspectives, not just the fashionable convoluted theory and criticism in trade and market art magazines. A literary approach is illuminating, expansive and imaginary, and not just of benefit to writers but to all art lovers.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
LUZAJIC: We have become a primarily poetry site, but we welcome short fiction, creative nonfiction, and reviews of ekphrastic writing. I’m really interested in poetic prose about art–not academic writing, not criticism, but creative engagement with visual art. There are so many stories, secrets, interpretations, messages, culture and era, and more, in every painting, in an artist’s life, it’s like a goldmine.
We get those stories in spades in poetry and we love that. But we are also looking for ekphrastic short stories and nonfiction, too. We publish some. Most of the poetry we receive is great and I still have to turn it away. But we don’t get very many quality submissions in fiction or nonfiction. We don’t get that many of these at all.
It can be tricky to define what kind of nonfiction is literary. Even cold theory or political writing about art could be literary if it has the human touch, or a sense of inspiration. You could ask “is it creative?” as opposed to merely informative or academic, but perhaps that is an equally tricky question to answer. A few wonderful examples are the essays in The Accidental Masterpiece, by Michael Kimmelman. Robert Hughes wrote more critically, but with such richness that we return to his creative essays over and over. Sister Wendy is another favourite- she provided a very unusual, personal tour through art history from the perspective of a nun turned art historian.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
LUZAJIC: Again, I’d like to see more short fiction and short prose. I love flash and nonfiction flash too. Sometimes, the shorter the better. Pick one thing to say instead of trying to say everything.
As we grow, it’s really important to us to be an archive of ekphrastic writing, and that includes ekphrastic writing from other languages. We have published some wonderful translations, from Portuguese, from Lithuanian, from Indonesian, from Spanish. We want more.
At this point, quality ekphrastic poetry in any language, then translated into English, has a very high chance of acceptance. This is because we receive very little. We want the original work in its language, to be published in the mother tongue, and the English translation as well. We do need permission from the original writer. If a writer doesn’t know them or how to contact them, but speaks that language and wants to show us a translation, send me a note and we’ll talk about how we can contact them and request permission to translate and publish.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
LUZAJIC: I love the eclecticism of the Canadian magazines The Walrus and Maisonneuve. They have unfortunately grown more political and less literary than they used to be. But you can still get some really unexpected treasures in creative nonfiction from both of them, and the world needs more Canadian content.
I really love Unbroken because of its focus on prose poetry. If I didn’t have an ekphrastic journal, or I had another 24 hours in each day, I would have a prose poetry journal, too. The new journal, Heart of Flesh, is a really honest and interesting exploration of faith that I’ve found interesting. And MacQueen’s Quinterly, that is gold. Formerly KYSO Flash, publisher Clare MacQueen shares my love for flash fiction, prose poetry, ekphrastic literature, and everything in between. Her journal is a riot of amazing, eclectic literary treasures.
I also love Lunch Ticket, Flash Fiction, Wild World, and 3 AM. There are so many.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with The Ekphrastic Review?
LUZAJIC: It’s amazing to be part of a world wide web of talent and experience. I can honestly say I look forward to every day because I work on the Review almost all days, including weekends. I’m inspired constantly by amazing writers and I get to see, experience, and share my passion for art. When someone writes and says, “You introduced me to this painter,” or “You showed me something I’ve never noticed” in an artwork, I feel total elation.
HOPKINSON: Where can we send submissions?
LUZAJIC: Submit to email@example.com.
If the piece is a deadline response to one of our prompts, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
LUZAJIC: email@example.com Put something in the subject line that lets me know you have a question!
DEADLINE: July 31, 2020
NOTES: They also accept submissions for their biweekly ekphrastic prompt on a rolling basis with a deadline two weeks from posting for each new challenge. Prompt submissions must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org instead of main inbox.
Simultaneous submissions and reprints are okay!
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: Poetry, Prose, Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Profiles, the Ekphrastic Experience
SUBMISSION METHOD: Email