Call for Submissions:  Ecstasy
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West Trade Review invites submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, and hybrid work for an upcoming issue with a special section on the theme of Ecstasy.

It seems we have always needed, and had, a word for ecstatic states. The word “ecstasy” comes to us from ancient Greek, ek-outside of + stasis, that is, our usual condition. Thousands of years later, we’re still in search of escape from the daily grind—from dull work, heavy responsibilities, the expectations, and requirements of others, and perhaps above all from the shadowy aspects of ourselves. Ecstasy will explore the contours of our altered states and our wishes—sometimes lucid, often not—for such alterity. We want out. How will we get it?

We’re looking for writing that explores ecstasy in all its forms—ecstasies of the body, of course, but also of the mind and spirit, ecstasies of labor, research, discovery, recognition, and reward. Ecstasies of relief—from pain, concern, obsession. Ecstatic laughter from Nietzsche to Kundera to Iliza Shlesinger and Margaret Cho. Ecstasies of information, from the full-scape virtual reality suite to the humble sext—or maybe just an unexpectedly hot postcard from an alter-ego, something that perks you up, attunes you freshly to the erotic possibilities of speed, flight, transformation, and exchange.

Is ecstasy a matter of one-time access, like finding a golden ticket or a getting a winning lotto card? Or is it an aspect of practice, a deep release like a runner’s high, something that comes after a long period of patient work? 

We’re interested, too, in the limits of ecstasy and in work that explores its shadow side—the ambiguous ecstasies of crowds, of riots and protests and sold-out shows. Show us the paradoxes of ecstasy, the mind-altering pleasures to be found around the edges of being mature, reasonable, adult. 

We want subtle work that insists, with Lucy Snowe: “We shall and must break bounds at intervals, despite the terrible revenge that awaits our return.” And we want work that shouts for release along with Baudelaire: “Anywhere! Anywhere out of this world!”

Send us what sends you.

Submissions open April 1st to August 1st 2024.

Current Submissions Promo: If you're among the first 50 poets to submit to us by end of day on May 19th, we will respond to your submission in two weeks (no charge for expedited feedback, a $10 value).


- Only previously unpublished work will be considered.

- Submit up to 5 poems as one submission in a single Microsoft Word file (and list the title of each poem for the title of your group submission) or a single prose piece of up to 6,000 words.

  -Include a clear title for each submission and indicate genre in your cover letter and at the top of your document (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, hybrid).

  -Please single space poems and double space prose.

  -Include a cover letter and a short 3rd person biography of no more than 150 words. In your cover letter, explain how your submission engages with the theme of ecstasy.

  -Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please let us know immediately if the work is published elsewhere. 

  -Writers may not submit more than once per reading period.

To be considered for the special themed section of the Spring 2025 print edition, submissions must be uploaded to the "Themed Call: Ecstasy (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Hybrid Work)" Submittable project at the following link:

Submissions that do not meet guidelines or eligibility requirements will not be considered.


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