For writing, like most other creative activities (see Kirby Ferguson’s series about theories of creativity), copying is the first step in the creative process. Before innovation can take off, the innovator should be well versed in the tools that are already available. Consider Isaac Newton’s famous quotation, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants,” which is itself an imitation of a previous work’s metaphor.
The nature of our prompts, which change for each issue, offers practice in this first step. In providing a way for developing writers to publish their early work and potentially even get feedback on it, Imitation & Allusion is ultimately a place for emerging writers to build a foundation in derivation. If they take the next step—transformation—that’s even better. We encourage them to inform us when they write other pieces that find success with the constant aim of fostering a writing community.
With that said, here’s what we’re looking for in submissions:
1) Connection to the our chosen writer-poet combination for the current issue.
How does your work relate to the writer/poet? Did you follow their style or form? Did you allude to their work(s) or their lives in your work? Or did you find another way to relate to them? If it’s not evident, don’t be afraid to tell us–we’re not geniuses here, and we’re definitely not experts in all the writers and poets that we choose (in fact, maybe we’re hoping to learn about them from you).
2) Adherence to our word & line count maximums:
5,000 words for prose, 50 lines for poetry.
See also Submission Page.
3) Correct grammar and usage:
To us, this includes using correct punctuation and modern language–if it says “archaic” in the dictionary, avoid it. However, it is fine to break these grammar and usage rules if the reason is evident or it is in the effort to follow a previous writer’s style.
4) Consideration of our general aesthetics:
While these are not the only stylistic preferences we look for, the following is a list of what stands out to us the most. These can also be useful categories to consider when looking for points of inspiration from our chosen writers for the upcoming issue.
Sound: Rhythm, alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme–yes! Sound play makes reading all the more enjoyable.
Imagery: It’s all about the images, people. The more real it is, the better.
Accessibility: Like we said before, we’re not geniuses. Most people aren’t, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy poetry. Esoteric knowledge isn’t going to win you points here, nor will obscure references–unless they are a really good illustration of your point. (We always make exceptions.)
Sarah and Julia met while in school at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where they were part of the minority of students who studied liberal arts, specifically an obscurely titled major called Science, Technology, and Culture. Though they like to jest that their odd major merely meant they took classes named things like “Science, Technology, and the Enlightenment” (which is true), they are quite appreciative of the experiences STAC brought to their attention, and especially appreciative of the poetry community at Georgia Tech. History and their experience as lit mag editors at Tech have shown Sarah and Julia that poetry from engineers and scientists can be some of the most intriguing. When they left school, they didn’t want to leave their poetry days behind, and so was born Imitation & Allusion.
Sarah is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of Georgia School of Law. Some of her favorite writers are Margaret Atwood, Jasper Fforde, Carson McCullers, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Marianne Wiggins. In the brief moments between law school reading and writing assignments, Sarah enjoys working on this magazine and spending time with friends and family.
In addition to her STAC degree, Julia graduated with a little Spanish and International Affairs on the side. After graduation, she went to the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute where she learned all the mysterious ways of publishers (sort of). Now she works at The History Press in Charleston, SC. Some of her favorite poets include Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Frank O’Hara, Theresa Davis, and Hilary Kobernick. When she’s not trying to maintain this magazine, her day job, or her never-ending reading list, Julia likes to cook and train for triathlons.