call for submissions

ISSUE 3 THEME: shade

For SPROUT’s third issue, the editors have been inspired by The Nature of Cities’ current art exhibition, Shade, and wish to draw on the exhibition’s virtual installation as a conceptual springboard for our new issue’s poetic theme. Organised by community-based arts organisation Arroyo Arts Collective, the project invited emerging and established artists to use repurposed umbrellas as their canvas to explore the themes of shade, heat, nature, and climate change. One of the prompts, provided to guide visual artists for Shade, reads as follows:

In a warming world, shade equity is an issue that disproportionately affects low-income and working-class communities, people of color, and communities in developing nations who are more likely to work outdoors, rely on public transportation, and live in denser neighborhoods with a lack of trees and shade. As the climate changes and heat waves become longer, more intense, and more frequent, what was once thought primarily as an aesthetic amenity is increasingly recognized as a way of protecting the public health and well-being of marginalized communities. Urban heat causes more deaths than all other weather-related causes combined in an average year, and yet providing shade can be simple and effective and can be done in many creative ways including tree planting, bus stop sheds, and awnings, to name a few.

SPROUT invites poets to think expansively and poetically about the role that shade plays in the built environment, particularly focusing on shade equity — i.e., how shade can make more inclusive spaces in the city, or, how the lack thereof can create inhospitable, hostile spaces. We encourage poets to visit the virtual exhibit of TNOC’s Shade and wander through the installation of featured artists’ umbrellas (manifesting different interpretations of shade), as well as the accompanying meditations put forward by scientists and urban practitioners that create dialogue with the artistic works. We are interested in poetry that considers shade from ecological, architectural, and environmental justice points of view. 

As a journal, we embrace literary experimentation in form and find ourselves inclined to publish works that play with both language and poetic expression. We encourage contributors to visit the SPROUT website to read our first two issues and acquaint themselves with the journal’s vision and mandate. As we are a creative project of The Nature of Cities we work towards thinking about greener cities for people. 

Poets whose work is selected for publication, will receive an honorarium of $150. Sprout is a creative project of The Nature of Cities, the mission of which is to curate transdisciplinary conversations and solutions toward cities that are better for both people and nature.

submitting your work

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Send us 1 or 2 poems of no more than 50 lines each (please note we will not consider manuscript submissions).
  2. Any poetic form is welcome.
  3. We welcome any language, although an English translation must be included with the submission.
  4. Submit via this form before February 6, 2023.
  5. Submissions must relate to the call’s theme: Shade.

If you have any questions about the submission guidelines, please email the managing editor, Emmalee Barnett,

The Fine Print:

  1. Submissions to SPROUT must not be previously published, including self-published work (this includes publication on blogs or social media). SPROUT should be the first publication of the work, copyright under TNOC. SPROUT retains no rights to the individual pieces and is not due royalties for the republication of contributor’s works. We kindly ask that any republished work mention SPROUT as the place of first publication.
  2. We are happy to consider simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if your work has been accepted elsewhere. All decisions regarding submissions to SPROUT will be sent by March 1, 2023.
  3. Please send us your best work. Your acceptance into the issue is subject to the editors’ discretion. Editors’ decisions are final. Editors cannot provide editorial feedback.