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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.

In this time of coronavirus, life has been turned upside down for virtually everyone on Earth. Now is a time when we need our writing and art, when our instinct to create is tantamount and in tandem with to our instincts to survive and thrive. Worth noting: this is different from the capitalist-induced worry, “Oh shit, I’m stuck at home for two weeks and if I don’t write that book and reorganize my entire house while homeschooling my children I will be a total failure.” Darlings, tear up that script and throw it in the trash-heap right now. Write a poem about what bullshit that is, and how and why we do this to ourselves so often, and let the false construct go. The more compassion we can give ourselves and each other, the better we’ll all be able to weather this storm. And the more we can turn to our art as a pressure release valve, instead of coming to it from a sense of pressure, the more it will nourish us.

In that spirit, we are thrilled to partner with our beloved friends at Fierce Womxn Writing in response to the pandemic. We’re now accepting submissions for an Anthology of Pandemic Creativity. We’re still taking submissions to Terra Preta Review, as well, and are curating an amazing next issue to share with you all.

We’ll also be using our blog more often to post prompts, comfort, and inspiration, in case you need some. We’ll be sharing things we find inspiring or helpful, as well as posting our own thoughts. You can also follow us on Instagram where we’ll be sharing a lot of content too. In the spirit of terra preta, now is the time to dig deep, reconnect to the richness of our own soul’s earth. We will make art that speaks to the breaking-down and supports the building anew, as our own ways of making peace with this totally surreal transition to a new reality. We hope you will too. And we hope you’ll share it with us. In years to come, this anthology will speak to the realities and surrealities of this time in ways that only great writing and art can. The world needs your voice, our voices. Speak your truths (since truth is never a monolith, it’s messy and multifaceted). Make your art. Release your pressure valve. We’re here to support you through this. We feel like our mission as a literary journal speaks to this time directly, even though we never anticipated this happening…

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.