Send us your writing + photography/art — OPEN NOW THROUGH END OF APRIL 2019.
TEXTURE POEMS for [Year 44] in the Vietnamese Diaspora
2019 is Year 44 for those of us whose own or whose families’ journeys were sparked by the exodus events of April 30, 1975—a date that marks the Fall of Saigon and the dissolution of South Vietnam. For those of us in the diaspora, this historic event also marks the dawn of our Vietnamese diasporic identity as a people scattered to locations all across the globe (although we acknowledge that some Vietnamese left the motherland also before and after that date, and it is of course not possible to claim just one “birthdate” for all of our diasporic becomings). In general, however, we recognize April 30th as a date that holds commemorative weight for many Vietnamese on various shores. It is a date often remembered poignantly – as loss – especially by those of South Vietnamese descent; as well it is a date that denotes new beginnings.
Like all deaths, it is a date of both ending and rebirth.
This year on diaCRITICS, we wish to reflect on this day in terms of both the past and the present. We would like to look at not just the one moment of crucial rupture in our pasts, but to also consider the forms of memories, and (re)membering, and “textures” of diasporic experience that have since been gathered, created, collected and re-collected, imagined and re-imagined, since that historic day in 1975.
To help us capture this, we welcome your submissions of both writing and visual (photography, drawing, etc) artwork.
What does this day look like, now and/or then, for those in the diaspora (and those in Vietnam, too, who may be reading this): how do you and those around you (re)member April 30th? What does this process of remembering/re-membering (or not remembering, for that matter…) look like in your community, in your family, in your own wrestlings i.e. with memory/forgetting, questing, healing or wishing to, with returns (for some of us) or refusals to?
We are calling this our search for “texture poems” of the Vietnamese diaspora in contemplation of April 30th.
Your submission can be visual or written or some hybrid of both.
Here are some questions to ponder:
– What does April 30th mean to you today?
– What does April 30th (or terms like “Black April” or “Fall of Saigon” or “reunification” etc) look like in your memory? or via your inherited stories or imaginings of this history?
– How is this day or history remembered, commemorated, celebrated, etc. in your communities, families, households, etc? Or not? (i.e. what then do the silences and absences look like??)
– How has this historic day been built upon/from since? i.e. what do your diasporic surroundings or community look like today?
– If you have returned to the motherland or are someone who comes and goes between shores, what does that perspective on the diasporic experience look like for you?
– How do you picture or understand your/our Vietnamese diasporic being today, 44 years beyond the April 30th event? How might you represent this, in a portrait, an object, a setting, a scene, a poem, or … ?
We would like to see “textures” from as many different parts of the diaspora as we can reach (we encourage submissions from all countries!) and from all perspectives of comings and goings. Please share this submission call and help us expand our reach to different corners and communities of the Vietnamese diaspora.
But what exactly is a “texture poem”?
*Editorial comment: I think of “texture” in art as an element that conveys emotion, ethos, the hard-to-articulate or summarize aspects of experience.*
A texture poem can be written, visual, or some mixture of both. It is focused on mood/atmosphere/moment, more so than on a lengthy or plot-driven story (although it can certainly still convey a story!). It might be something akin to an Instagrammable, snapshot-like, “slice of life” moment, or an attempt to capture a “that feel of when” type of moment. It may focus on a place, person or people, objects, a scene, or it might be a more abstract rendering of impressions, fragments, colors, glimpses, etc. It may capture a single object or observation (food on a table, light across a doorway, a shadow, a passerby’s silhouette, texture of fabric on furniture, a bit of conversation, etc) and it will do this in writing or via image, or both together. In this series, we want simply to capture and convey the varied “textures” of our diasporic experience: however you wish to interpret that.
Please send (to firstname.lastname@example.org):
- a short piece of writing (one poem, a fragment, a postcard-length epistolary, a prose-snippet, a lyric essay, under 500 words)
- a single image or photograph, or sequence of images (up to 3-5 related images)
- or: a combination of the two elements above
- please include a title for your “texture poem”, plus your biographical information (150 words or less) and/or an artist statement; plus any relevant website links
- you are welcome to send in multiple entries
This submission call will be open from today through the month of April.
We will post submissions intermittently throughout the months of April and May 2019, in honor of April 30th.
Have fun, and we look forward to reading/seeing your April 30th / Year 44- inspired diasporic texture poems !
LINK to general submission guidelines page: https://diacritics.org/submit/