Hello TERSE. family!
As many of you know, we have had spent several months away from publishing new work. There are a variety of factors that led to our recent silence: grad school, work, family, and all of the mundane tasks of being a person. Additionally, TERSE. itself has changed, fundamentally.
In its past lives, TERSE. has been a passion project, a history, a new world, a space for inventive, creative work driven by the labor of writers occupying all sorts of identities and living all sorts of lives. TERSE. itself has undergone some changes — new editors, themes, the shift from issues to freeform content — but it has fundamentally remained the same in the sense that it is a space for radical compassion and a truly team effort aiming for harmony among writers and editors.
Early in my writing career, five or so years ago, I was looking for some such places. I had tried my luck at large magazines and had been tired of constantly trying to pump out new content that received little attention and often cost me money and energy to create. I had chosen to look into small publishing and stumbled upon TERSE. and my life has never been the same.
Also around this time was my first true foray into American politics via my first election in 2016. During this time, I had moved away from my small hometown and was now meeting people in all phases of their lives. I met new people and learned from them, with and without grace. It felt wonderful and horrific. However, it also began a somewhat soul crushing transition into adulthood. I, and countless others, began to engage in true discourse, began reading and writing politically, questioning ideas and trying on new ways of thinking.
This, of course, means that TERSE. came to me at an excellent time — an era of growth in a true sense: painful and fulfilling. This is also something I loved about TERSE. — it has always been radical in its politic. TERSE. has consistently explored difficult topics and provided political commentary that has shaped my own sense of self. TERSE. was once of the first places to give me a shot at being a writer, at being paid for it, and it was unapologetic in its demand that submissions be free and that publications who had the resources pay their artists.
Now, five years later, many of us are able to more clearly see what has been wrong this entire time — the people in power make the rules which they are not bound to. We can see this in all aspects of our world, in the US and elsewhere, and the tragedy of these offenses truly comes down to those who are most marginalized.
TERSE. aims to comment on, and to challenge, these social commandments. Of course, writing, as with other artistic endeavors, are often underfunded. However the publishing space, like many other systems, prioritizes the voices of the few. One of our central ways of resolving this has been, historically, to pay people — both editors and writers. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a general increase is the cost of living, has contributed to a paucity of funds for many of the editors at TERSE. Mauve, the founder and visionary of TERSE., has always wanted to pay editors and writers, something we have tried to keep up when possible.
Given some of the freedom that comes with summer, and the need for a general morale boost, we have chosen to temporarily reopen submissions from June 1st to July 31st. We stand behind offering free submissions to all, and as such TERSE. submissions remain 100% free. However, in the material reality of the editors, as well as much of the world at large, we regrettably must announce that at this time, we cannot pay our writers. We recognize this is not ideal for many writers, and we fundamentally believe you deserve payment for your labor. We know this may prevent you from sharing your work with TERSE., but we are confident you will find excellent homes for your content that does currently pay. We hope to pay again in the future, as soon as possible, but for now, we are unable to do so.
TERSE. would also like to remind everyone that we are a space for innovative and bold work. We have consistently looked for unique, moving, and dynamic pieces from a diverse group of writers. We would like to state, explicitly, that we are open to work from both emerging and established writers, and we want work that speaks to our communities. We strive for inclusion wherever possible and we are always open to feedback. We know the world is an unforgiving and harsh place, and that while this has been true historically, it is being highlighted currently. We want to offer a place of refuge that also demands change.
Finally, we would like to state that while we cannot pay at the moment, presses and publishers with more funding should pay their writers and editors whenever possible. While volunteering time and effort in the literary space can be enriching, everyone benefits from art, and everyone deserves to be paid for it. We want to pressure other, larger publications to treat their workers fairly in all stages of the writing and editing process, and we hope you do too.
Terse will only be considering submissions for content (prose, poetry, art, etc) from June 1st to July 31st. Content submitted after this date will be rejected. We respond to all submissions and our turnaround time is at most 4-6 weeks, though much quicker (sometimes same day, schedule dependent.) To reiterate, submissions are free but we can no longer offer payment. Work will be evaluated by two of our dear friends — Fox Auslander and grey. Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and check our extended guidelines here.
Fox Auslander is a friend of TERSE via their column HYPER/TEXT! Fox is also a co-founder and editor in chief of our friends Delicate Friend. Fox also is a current co-lead poetry editor at Alien Magazine and purveyor of Internet ephemera zines. Fox is one of the brightest poetry writers I have ever met and has a true eye for fresh and experimental work.
A fun fact directly from Fox:
grey is very dear to me, but also very mysterious and also dozens of rats in a trench coat and no, she will not be taking questions at this time. grey has experience working as a prose editor and the managing editor of ellipsis… Literature and Art. grey is an extremely competent cultural critic and she often writes about the finer things in life — lesbians, the apocalypse, and giant robots. she may tell you a story about one of these things in exchange for a shiny rock.
A message from grey: