Nerve Lantern Submissions

Nerve Lantern aspires to serve as an axon for experimental, multidimensional, consciousness-shaking, vividly engaging performance texts—to bring the performative to performers. We also hope it becomes a live synapse at which newer and more established writers meet to exchange creative and critical impulses, thereby forming collaborative networks.

Guidelines & Info for Regular Issues

(1) Check the news blog for submission calls and make note of deadlines. Calls for art submissions present different guidelines from these listed here.

(2) Read this page carefully and take a look at this site’s other pages to learn about Nerve Lantern and its community. Do you want to be a part of it? Think about why. Do you feel akin to something or want to add something new? The best way to learn about Nerve Lantern is to order a copy. However, feel free to email questions about Nerve Lantern to editor Ellen Redbird.

(3) Submit your work as an attachment to an email. Submissions must be in the form of MS Word doc (or docx), rtf, or pdf. You can address your message/cover letter to Ellen Redbird. If you wish to submit a hard copy, mail to: 363 Cannon Green Dr. Apt. C, Goleta, CA, 93117. Your submissions will not be returned, so please don’t send originals. Read the rest of the Guidelines & Info detailed below before submitting.

(4) Maximum: 10 pages. Excerpts ok. Include your name, email, and mailing address on the submission.  Images that are part of your piece will be considered, but Redbird might not be able to publish them. Formatting does not have to be standard, but it helps if your piece is polished and how you want it presented. Nerve Lantern has its own format, so your work might change some in order to fit the space allowed and the style of presentation. However, Ellen tries to preserve as much of the original integrity of the text as possible. Specify if using particular or multiple fonts is important, so Ellen can discuss with you the viability of it.

(5) Nerve Lantern is primarily an English language journal but welcomes submissions of original texts in other languages. If you want to submit a text in another language, or that includes more than one language, let Ellen know. She will see if she can find an editor who can read and edit the submission. At this time, Nerve Lantern is not accepting translations. Creative, deliberate mistranslations are fine (e.g. homophonic, collage, imitation, etc.).

(6) In your submission email or cover letter, tell Ellen a little about yourself, your work, and your interest in Nerve Lantern. No need to impress—it’s just a way to start the conversation. Include your name (specify pen-name) and email address.

(7) Simultaneous submissions are ok, but please let Ellen know ASAP if your submission is accepted elsewhere. If your submission has been published in the past, confirm that you have the rights to it. Credit where it has appeared and when. Explain why you want to re-publish it in Nerve Lantern.

(8) Please be available via email in case Ellen wants to ask questions and discuss your submission.

(9) Response time for submissions varies, as this is a project that Ellen does when time and energy allows, which varies. But she tries to respond as promptly as she can. Ellen Redbird reserves the right to reject submissions and not explain why. She will sometimes ask other writers to serve as contributing editors, helping with the selection process. Ellen tries to be fair and respectful and hopes you will, too. If your work is accepted, you might be asked to look at and approve proofs by a certain deadline before Nerve Lantern is printed. You will be asked to provide a bio.

(10) If your work is accepted for publication in Nerve Lantern, and you provide Ellen with your mailing address, you will be sent a free copy of the issue.

Thanks for your interest! Ellen looks forward to reading your work.

Submit Work as an Attachment to Email

Thoughts for Nerve Lantern Newcomers

Especially of interest:

(1) Performance texts that are meant to be performed beyond a reading by a single voice (real or imagined). What performative dimensions does your text have? How does your text move people to perform it? For instance, consider: polyvocality, dialogue, props, gesture, staging, soundscapes, music, opera, dance, visuals, events, instructions, chance operations, participants, venue, subtext, meta. And how do you define such dimensions? Do you include these in a separate set of stage directions or are they part of the poetry, of the language itself? Granted, any text has inherent performative qualities, but how do you develop these? What is a stage direction and what can it do differently? Is your text like an experimental theater? A performer walking into one? Its own or some other text’s audience member? These are open questions and only a few of the possible ones.

(2) Creative texts that are only meant to perform on the page, but do so with something like an awareness of, or emphasis on, the performativity of language, the page as a theater, or active reader participation.

(3) Texts about the subject of performance, especially, but not exclusively, as relates to performed language. The forms your text takes to talk about performance can be various and hybrid: poems, stories, essays, reviews, witness accounts, debates, manifestoes, poetics/aesthetics statements, interviews, letters, proposals, text messages, maps, cut-up collage, catalogs, collections, aphorisms, glossaries, footnotes, revisions, dreams, altered book pages, charts, portraits, dossiers, lists, brainstorms, etc. These could also be intended for performance.

(4) Poets’ Theater. Theatre Poetics. Guerilla theater. Hybrids. Fluxus. Satire. Absurdity. Surrealism. Activism. Defamiliarized camp. Mistranslations. Collaborations. Surprises and other things you might expect.