Call for Submissions:  Borders & Border Crossings
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"Borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle, and upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy."  

"Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary."

from Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands: The New Mestiza = La Frontera. Aunt Lute Books, 2007. 

From the first known fortified barrier built by the Sumerians to keep the Amorites out of Mesopotamia to the present day endless news cycle decrying an immigration crisis, the abstraction of borders has pounded out the shape of our experience. The compulsion to create them, to demarcate areas and ideas, parse lands and categorize them as “ours'' and “not yours,” to internalize this metaphor and map territories in our own psyches, is devastatingly human. Borders define us. They certainly divide us from others. They imply the notions of lack and security, violence, stability. They tell us that there is a place on the other side in which laws, the economy, language and culture might swing wildly beyond our comprehension. They contain us with vague promises of belonging and safety. But married to this compulsion towards border creation is the desire or need to cross the line.

West Trade Review invites submissions of your best poetry, fiction, essays, and hybrid work that delves into the concept of borders in all their incarnations: the often invisible boundaries between countries and cultures, the geographically clear line of the forest’s edge or sheer rockwall in a canyon, the internal lines we draw around our personality traits and behaviors. Think purely metaphorical, as in Alberto Rios’ "The Border: A Double Sonnet," or as heartbreakingly literal, as Mahtem Shiferraw gets in her poem “Crossing Borders,” where she writes. “We are given new names, new sounds for our sorrows. We are told new stories that somehow still do not belong to us.” What role do borders play in our lives? Why do we maintain them? What do we gain or lose by crossing them? We want to read what happens to the body and mind when it adheres to or transgresses this abstraction.


- 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: Borders & Border Crossings (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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