The online literary magazine qarrtsiluni, now in its 7th year of
operation, has just issued a call for submissions to an
imitation-themed issue. The deadline is November 30.
Imitation — that sincerest form! — is in art all too often maligned.
“Better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation,” no less a
writer than Melville once sneered. For Emerson, imitation was
“suicide.” Especially since the Romantic revolt, writers and artists
in the West have taken for granted that originality is the soul of
Originality, though, is crippled without discipline, and imitation is
an uncompromising practice. The Great Masters of the past knew this
well, and would apprentice for years to gain fluency of form; the
literature of earlier eras, too, was woven with both homage and
parody. Poetry in particular has lent itself to the game: both John
Keats and William Blake published "An Imitation of Spenser," while
Spenser, in turn, openly mimicked a more antique verse. Robert
Lowell’s "Imitations" is humbling in its breadth, and how many
countless poets have affixed an italicized “after xx” beneath a title?
We believe there’s plenty to be gained from reviving the imitative
tradition — be it in jest, out of reverence, or somewhere in between —
and so, for the next issue of qarrtsiluni, we’re asking you for your
greatest imitations. Whether you’ve always dreamed of being Faulkner
(or Milosz or O’Keefe or Banksy or Bresson), or just want to try your
hand at highbrow fanfic, here’s your opportunity.
Submissions will be evaluated not only on their own merits but by how
well they evoke the style or approach of another. Though it’s up to
you whether or how to acknowledge the model in the submission itself,
we do ask that you spell it out in your cover letter. (Where
appropriate, you might include a copy of the work being emulated — or
Our limits this time are three poems, five images or videos, and/or
1000 words of prose per submission. All submissions must go through
the submissions manager (which also includes our general guidelines).
If you’ve submitted to other publications that use this system,
Submishmash, you’ll need to log in with the same username and
password. Otherwise, you’ll create a new account as part of the
As always, we consider contributions of nonfiction, poetry, short
fiction, photographs, digitized artwork, short films, original musical
compositions, spoken word recordings, translations and collaborative
Siona van Dijk is an entrepreneur, writer, and graduate student in
Depth Psychology. Prior to qarrtsiluni, Siona has served on the
editorial staff of The Amherst Review, Circus, and A Further Room. Her
favorite mimic is the lyre bird.
Dave Bonta handles most of the day-to-day operations at qarrtsiluni,
but once a year he likes to don the hat of an issue editor, too.
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