Right from the beginning, Artful Dodge has strived to expand the wide but not infinite boundaries of American literature. We have developed an ongoing interest in translation, especially from Eastern Europe and the Third World, and have published well-received special sections on poetry from the Polish underground and the Middle East. One of our older issues, Artful Dodge 31/32, featured a section of poetry written and translated from the Native American Ahtna by John Smelcer accompanied by an eye-opening essay entitled “Poems from a Vanishing Language.”
Rather than looking at these other literatures as rare exotica, we recognize that American literature right now is particularly open to writing from other languages, to fresh air from mythologies beyond our huge but not infinite cultural and metaphorical borders. We are always on the lookout for excellent translations of contemporary literature.
However, Artful Dodge‘s doors are open to a lot more than just translations or works rooted in foreign culture. What it boils down to is this: Artful Dodge is intensely attracted to writing that has a sense of place, and looks for work that combines the aesthetic and the human in fresh, unexpected ways. However, don’t ask us what that statement means — all we can say is that the work we print shows awareness of the cultural landscape out of which it comes, the words and deeds of people, the language of the bus-stop and bar. It involves an illumination of the particular and the concrete, and the transforming of this here-at-hand to the level of the permanent, the mythic. This can be accomplished in ways as diverse as William Carlos Williams’ wheelbarrows, Elizabeth Bishop’s maps, Langston Hughes’ rivers, or William S. Burroughs’ disrobed lunches. Some sort of interplay between focus and transcendence must be at work.
So, read Artful Dodge to get an idea of what we print. If you can’t afford a copy, then ask your local library to order a subscription — it might as well be Artful Dodge (or some other literary journal) sitting on those shelves instead of Fortune and Cosmo and Gourmet. And, after you’ve taken a look at the world around you, at the words surrounding you, take a deep breath and send us your work.
The basic guidelines for submitting work to Artful Dodge are as follows: