The next submission window for all submissions (both the supplement and the rest of the Special Issue) will open on 1 March and close at midnight on 1 May.
The Special Issue and supplement will be launched in early September 2019 and the theme for all work included is Language, Landscape and Migration.
To submit for the main magazine (rather than the Special Issue supplement) please send up to three poems, along with a short biographical note (max 60 words), to email@example.com. Work should be unpublished.
Poems to be no longer than 40 lines.
Please send your poems both as a single attachment (.doc, .docx, .txt or .rtf) and in the body of the email.
Contributors will receive one copy of the magazine.
Supplement Submission Guidelines
The criteria for submitting to be published as part of the special issue supplement are as follows:
- The writing group or individual submitting should be based in Galway City or County.
- The work of the writing group or individual submitting should be under-represented in existing media – i.e. not widely published elsewhere.
If you do not meet the above criteria, simply submit for the main issue as per the General Guidelines.
- Submissions should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Each submitter can send up to 3 poems OR up to two pieces of short fiction/memoir.
- A short bio (max 60 words) should be included in the body of the email.
- All submitted work should be unpublished.
- Poems should be sent as a single attachment (.doc, .docx, .txt or .rtf) and in the body of the email. Fiction/memoir should be sent as an attachment (one document).
- All submissions must fit within the Galway 2020 themes of Language, Landscape and Migration.
- Poetry should be no more than 40 lines in length.
- Memoir and short fiction pieces should be between 500-700 words in length and typed in Times New Roman, size 12.
- The name of the writing group (if applicable) should be included in the email’s Subject header: for example – Galway Writing Club: Poetry Submission. Each writing group member can submit individually by email, but the name of their group must be included as per this guideline.
- We ask people to remember that not all work submitted can be selected. The final decision on which work is to be included in the special issue supplement will be made by the Skylight 47 editors after reviewing all submissions.
To help with interpreting the themes, we have reproduced below an article written by co-editor Nicki Griffin for Issue 11 of Skylight 47. However, you are more than welcome to use your own interpretation.
Language, Landscape and Migration
We cannot escape our landscape. It is not simply the view from our window, the skies and mountains a painter might reproduce on a canvas, but the background to who we are. The physical landscape of being a child is where we all begin, whether it’s mud and fields, the rooms in a building, or pavement cracks and back alleys.
Landscape is also psychological, the place our minds go to, the history of our family and our country. It is the place names of where we grow up, the words only locals use, the shop names of our childhoods that exist now only in old photos, the panorama of our minds. It is the dips and curves of our bodies and how they change over the years. It is our dreaming life, the way our thought patterns slip and slide with the seasons, with the changing treescape, with snow on the hills and in a street’s gutters.
Landscape has dominated poetry for centuries. In the late 16th century Diarmaid Ó Briain, in his poem ‘The Shannon’, name checks Kincora, the Iron Mountain, Lough Derg, Lough Ree, and finishesupwith‘Boyne,SiuirandLauneofancient story, / And Suck’s swift flood – these have their fame; / But in the poet’s roll of glory / Thine, Shannon, is a nobler name.’ Paula Meehan in ‘It Is All I Ever Wanted’ talks of ‘my native city, its hinterland / and backstreets and river scored’ while Eavan Boland in ‘Anna Liffey’ writes ‘The river Liffey rises, is a source. / It rises in rush and ling and heather and / Black peat and bracken … /
Inescapable from landscape is the language that describes it. Words matter. What we call things matters, and when others take away those words, those place names, we are left adrift. When a nation loses its language it loses something of itself. So many words cannot be directly translated. We see
this in place names all over Ireland where the English and Irish are at odds on the one signpost, a subject so cleverly explored in Brian Friel’s play Translations.
Our language and the way we use it also defines us in the eyes of others, whether it be through a ‘posh’ accent or the accent of our county with its attached stereotypes. Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis, a native Welsh speaker, begins her poem ‘Mother Tongue’ with ‘I started to translate in seventy-three / in the schoolyard. For a bit offun / to begin with’, but things escalate and ‘Soon I was hooked on whole sentences / behind the shed.’ Speaking another country’s language can be viewed as transgression and betrayal.
It is not simply a matter of not having the words, or of having the wrong words, though that is part of it. An oral sense of identity is one thing – what we say to each other, the phrases we use, even our dialect attaches us directly to the landscape in which we live. But language is also about the written word. In poetry, memoir, fiction, the everyday news, we describe who we are as we see ourselves within our own world.
And language is more than simply saying words – a parrot can do that. Nor is it simply communication. All creatures communicate – they couldn’t survive otherwise – but language allows humans to pass on complex and abstract ideas, to talk about the past and future as well as the present. It is one ofthe things that defines us.
It is in the written word that we can see the direct result of migration on our sense of who we are. Some of the strongest works come from those who have been displaced, either by choice or because of circumstances. Poetry can be especially profound in its exploration of the effect of not only separation
from family and friends but also from the place itself. Irish emigration songs are full of longing for the home village, the churchyard gate where boys and girls eyed each other up.
Emigration, of course, is no longer the lifetime separation from people and place that it used to be. Many of Ireland’s most prominent poets now live abroad. Harry Clifton spent years in France. Paul Muldoon began writing about Ireland but ended up writing about America. Distance from the home country can end in sentimental nostalgia, but it can also give a sharper eye. It often leads to a strange connection/disconnection, with technology allowing us to seem closer to others than we really are. All grist to the poetry mill as Vona Groarke’s poem ‘Away’ illustrates: ‘I babysit by Skype, / breakfast to their lunch, / lunch to their dinner … / I touch their silky faces on my screen. / I am three thousand miles ago, / five hours in the red.
Stories of moving away used to be about the big migrations of previous centuries, but we now live in a world in which the mass movement of people fleeing is one of the main stories. Changing world conditions, climate change, war-torn countries are affecting our landscape and our language.
And now we have a new wave of Irish writers tackling emigration, but this time the travel is into Ireland, not out. In 2010 Eva Bourke and Borbála Faragó edited Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland (Dedalus Press): sixty-six first- and second- generation poets writing from Ireland. Some of the best literature can come out of change, of unrest, of movement. We have new voices calling out to be heard.