What is FANTASTIC FLORIDAS?
Fantastic Floridas is the online literary journal of Burrow Press. The name is taken from a phrase in an old translation of Rimbaud’s 1871 poem, “The Drunken Boat.” Newer translations use “unbelievable” and “incredible” in place of “fantastic,” but we’re suckers for alliteration.
The Spanish colony of Florida (la Florida, Pascua Florida, feast of flowers) was named by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, so when Rimbaud references capital-F “fantastic Floridas,” it’s possible he’s speaking of this landmass… however, what to make of the pluralization?
Each week, Fantastic Floridas publishes poetry, prose, and experimental work that expands and explodes the idea of “Florida Literature.” Call it a pluralistic approach.
Like our ouroboros gator logo (designed by the amazing Boy Kong), our conception of “Florida” is ever-changing, ever-renewing and always re-inventing itself. In that sense this journal is also a forum, a series of arguments and artifacts, an archive, a time capsule.
Thomas Edel discovered the Florida literary canon on Santa Rosa Island in 1959, thus freeing you to write about Florida in any way you like.
Writers thinking about submitting will be forgiven for thinking dualistically before sending work. We suggest breaking it down like so:
Capital-F Florida: place-based work set in Florida. Realism, yes, but we also find that this state is conducive to horror, sci-fi, speculative, crime, absurdism, fabulism, magical realism, myth, and fairy tales.
Lower-case-f florida: non-place-based work dealing in Florida themes and textures. Unique ecosystems (like the Everglades), climate change and other environmental devastations, invasive species, displacement, hidden or erased histories, a long run of shitty governors, tourism, an overabundance of comfort, ennui, stark contrasts (such as gritty/glossy; natural/manmade), an overall sense of the absurd and/or the uncanny and/or the strange… we encourage you to make your own wild connection and take a chance by submitting.
Florida and its influence is everywhere. Your florida literature need not be set in Florida, the United States, or on planet Earth.
Flannery O’Connor said of the South: “An identity is not to be found on the surface.” This is another way of warning against clichés and reductivism––the bane of good writing in any genre. Please avoid that. But the quote is also limited in its designation of a single identity. Florida is one of the most diverse and culturally pluralistic states in the nation, while also being a “red state” with a textbook American history of oppression and erasure. There are many stories to tell. We encourage submissions from writers of all ages, races, genders, abilities and cultural backgrounds.
Teege Braune, prose
Tyler Gillespie, poetry
Brianna Johnson, managing
Alexa Lemoine, poetry
Ryan Rivas, prose
Jared Silvia, prose
Amy Wheaton, artist in residence
• • •
Thomas Edel poses with a cannon at Fort Pickens – Santa Rosa Island, Florida . 1959. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.
Pittsburgh marks its 4th alligator sighting since May. Associated Press. July 9, 2019.