Editor’s note: the following is a call for submissions for a new anthology from our partners at Belt Publishing.

Belt Publishing will be compiling an anthology of essays and poems about Lawrence, Kansas for release in 2021 as part of our City Anthology Series.

Progressive politics is built into the fabric and identity of Lawrence, Kansas. Quantrill’s Raid, Bleeding Kansas, Free-State Jayhawkers, and John Brown are all vital parts of the story Lawrence tells about itself in guided tours, brewery and high school names, and license plates (seriously: a common license plate here, available at the co-op grocery store, is a painting of John Brown with arms outstretched, rifle in one hand, bible in the other). Lawrence tends to think of itself as a quirky, progressive place, a so-called “Blue Dot” in the Red State that is Kansas. But how do these progressive myths manifest in 21st-century reality? What is life like in a Blue Dot? How does the actual experience of Lawrence match with the progressive ideals it sells itself?

We are looking for stories, essays, and poems that accurately and compellingly portray life in this Midwest Blue Dot, as told by the people who have connections here. No more coastal reporters swooping in in search of red hats and coffee shops that don’t have almond milk (or worse). We the Midwest are here to tell our own story, and to show that our neck of the woods is as complicated, busy, artistic, and vibrant as anywhere else.

We’re particularly interested in essays about:

-The indigenous experience of the Midwest
-The complications of “Blue Dot” identity
-The legacy of Bleeding Kansas in present-day politics and identity
-Art and artists of Lawrence and the surrounding area
-Stories from queer people and people of color
-New or untold stories from the Midwest
-Stories by people who don’t usually self-identify as writers
-Any other compelling, unique, or freshly-told stories of Lawrence

We are looking for nonfiction of 300-2,000 words, and poems. Longer pieces or commissioned pieces are possible, so send queries to the email address below. Sorry, no fiction! Authors can submit multiple pieces. We will accept previously published pieces, but the author must include the original publication information and have the rights to the piece. Accepted submissions will likely be edited in coordination with the author. Contributors will be paid.

The anthology will be edited by Danny Caine, a Lawrence poet and owner of the Raven Book Store.

Submissions are due by December 15, 2019.

To submit an entry, please:

-Include author’s full name and contact information (phone, email, address and 3-4 sentence bio)
-Indicate where the author lives/where the piece takes place
-Write “SUBMISSION” on the subject line.

Submit all entries and questions to: LawrenceAnthology@gmail.com

SPONSORS:  Interested in underwriting or sponsoring this book? Email Publisher Anne Trubek at anne@beltmag.com.

Cover image by Danny Caine.