call for submissions

A section of the Highline. Photo by David Maddox
If you grow up on the edge of things you know about scrub, how the end of things is written in every leaf that insists on sprouting each spring out of decay. Scrub is not country, and it is not town. It is not a garden; nothing is neat here. It is not wild, or not wild enough. It exists on the edge of cultivated land, between the hard shoulder and the wheat field, between the livestock fence and the first occupied houses on the new estate.
— “Scrub”, Joanna Walsh (SPROUT, Issue 1)

The theme for SPROUT’s second issue is EDGE. We invite poets to think about the edges of the eco-urban. This theme can be interpreted creatively and expansively, but the editors will be looking for poetic sensitivity to the intersections between people, the urban, and nature. We are interested in how poets might interpret what constitutes the edge (or edges) of city life with its marginalia, peripheries, liminality, and in-between spaces. Edges can be places of invention, reinvention, and creativity. Edge is not only spatial, but also linguistic; it exists on the edge of other words: s/(l)edge, (h)edge, (w)edge, (dr)edge, (k)edge. 

We invite poets to contemplate the following:
  • Edges can be about overlap, interstices, dovetails between forms, registers, and disciplines. How do edges bring about different kinds of dialogue?
  • How do edges shape or inform negotiations where different things meet: people, infrastructure, and nature?
  • Could this be where nature enters, disrupts, or reclaims the “built” environment? Are these edges rough or polished?

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 welcome all forms of poetic expression that engage with the theme (including but not limited to concrete, visual, traditional, and lyric poetry, and works that blend image and text in interesting ways). We invite contributions from people who work across disciplinary boundaries; we are interested in work that speaks across professional and creative spaces, and welcome poetic works that challenge thematic and literary traditions. We are happy to publish works in languages other than English, provided that an English poetic version accompanies the work (whether as the original work or as the translation).

submitting your writing

We encourage contributors to read our first issue and to 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 cities that are better for both  people and nature. The Nature of Cities is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in New York City. It was founded in 2012 and has since built a network of 900+ transdisciplinary contributors in 27 countries and on 6 continents. We are a “boundary” organization — specifically interested in discovering what can be learned at the frontiers between art, science, design, policy, and activism — with a mission to foster more resilient, sustainable, livable, and just cities that strengthen our relationships with nature. SPROUT Editors will invite one or more city-makers (i.e., an architect, urban ecologist, urban planner) to produce critical reflections of the issue.
Submission Guidelines:
  1. Send us no more than two poems of no more than 40 lines each (please note we will not consider manuscript submissions).
  2. Submit via this form, and the EXTENDED deadline is October 8th, 2021 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time.
  3. 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.
  4. We are happy to publish works in languages other than
    English, provided that an English poetic version accompanies the work
    (whether as the original work or as the translation).
  5. 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 late November 2021.
  6. 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. 
  7. At the moment, SPROUT is not in a position to pay contributors for their work.

If you have any questions about the submission guidelines, please email the managing editor, Malerie Lovejoy, at