Terra Preta Review exists to unearth phenomenal writing by folx at all stages of their writing careers. We’re especially interested in poetry, translation, creative non-fiction, craft essays, literary reviews, art, collage, and photography by members of marginalized communities – BIPOC, LGBTQI2+, womxn, refugees, immigrants, creators old and young, and those who are neurodiverse or differently-abled.
Our journal is named after an immensely fertile soil found in the Amazon, terra preta, which was formed both intentionally and by circumstance in indigenous farming communities milennia ago. Upon examination, the soil was found to contain charcoal, shards of pottery, scraps of food and bone, and (let’s speak plainly) human & animal shit. In other words, it was created by/within/beneath kitchen middens and trash heaps – and, later, by purposefully mixing charcoal, bone, and composted materials into depleted soil. The decomposed trash and char created unbelievably fecund soil for growing food to nourish the farmers, their families, & their communities.
If you’ve ever taken a step back from something horrible that’s happened to you and said, maybe laughing through your tears, “Well, I’ll get some good poems out of this,” this is the place for you. We’re drawn to writing and art that grows from the trash heap of life. (We believe this describes nearly all good art.)
We read (and write) about grief, about trauma (both individual and collective), about mental illness, about social justice, about dismantling the patriarchy, white supremacy, homophobia, Islamophobia, and transphobia, about gardening and baking and parenting and sex and working and myth and healing, about love and joy and rage and sorrow and despair and hope and life in all their mess and muck and beauty. We’re looking for writing and art with clear, strong voice and craft. We dig inherited and organic forms, experimental works, free verse, mixed media & genre, collaborations, what can we say – we’re open.
We welcome your submissions (unless you and your work are racist, homophobic, misogynist, or supremacist in any way – GTFOH with that shit). You can submit your work for free, or make a small contribution if you’re able; we pay our contributors as well as donating to a social justice non-profit with proceeds from each edition. Check out our guidelines here. Check out how we share any income here. Check out a list of writers we love here.
If something in here strikes a chord with you, hit us up. We’re accepting submissions and would be honored to spend time with your work.