Call for Poetry

“For nearly all of the first century of automobile travel, getting your license meant liberation from parental control, a passport to the open road. Today, only half of millennials bother to get their driver’s licenses by age 18. Car culture, the 20th-century engine of the American Dream, is an old guy’s game.” –Marc Fisher, “Cruising Toward Oblivion.”

“I’ve never seen myself as a ‘girl driver.’ I’m just a driver.” –Danica Patrick

“I wasn’t reaching for it.” –Last words of Philando Castile, 1983-2016

Like the intersections implicit in Politics/Letters, cars perform at the crossroads of America’s aesthetic, economic, and sociopolitical traditions. From Detroit’s history as the heart of America’s automotive industry to Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road, cars move us, literally and figuratively. Cars transport us in space and time, on personal and cultural levels.

“Car Poems: A Collective Vehicle” will be published in forthcoming issues of Politics/Letters. We solicit all forms of poetry, including prose poems. We seek poems that engage with any aspect of our culture’s complex and constantly evolving relationship to cars. No specific political leaning is required. Just send us your best original writing. We welcome all relevant topics. Below is some food for thought:

• Presidential Motorcades
• Cars as vehicles for risk-taking and experimentation
• Cars and the environment
• Cars that terrify or thrill us (think Stephen King’s Christine)
• Cruising and parking
• Accidents
• Road rage
• NASCAR culture
• Racing along the color line (the Indianapolis 500 and segregation)
• Cars in popular culture
• Vehicles of liberation (women drivers in Saudi Arabia)
• Vehicles of oppression (racial profiling; human trafficking)
• Cars as clichés and/or game changers
• Your favorite or most dreaded roads and routes
• Hybrids, electric cars, zero emissions
• Generational divides (Boomers, Gen X, Millennials)
• Racial, gendered and/or class divides
• Trans Canada(s)
• Roads home; Roads not traveled; the Open Road
• Cars as empowerment; cars and disability

Send submissions to

Rolling Deadline, but submit by December 20th, 2017 to have your poem/s considered for the next installment.

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