Expanding Florida(s) Borders

Attention writers: we’re expanding the guidelines for the type of work we’re looking for. We hope you’ll submit!

The name Fantastic Floridas is taken from a phrase in a poor 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. 

We publish poetry, fiction and nonfiction set in Florida, dealing with Florida themes, and beyond. What do we mean by beyond? Therein lies the expansion we hope to explain in these guidelines.

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? It’s the letter S that is the gateway to that “beyond.” What are these other Floridas Rimbaud refers to?

It’s a cliché by now to say there are multiple Floridas within the state of Florida. The multiplicity we’re after is more abstract. While we are partly interested in realistic literary work set within those geographical bounds (from the panhandle’s Redneck Riviera to Miami’s gateway to the Americas), we are also interested in Florida as a state of mind, a mood, a feeling. Like Rimbaud’s psychedelic boat ride, we’re also looking for work that is geographically transcendent.

I struck against, you know, [fantastic] Floridas
Mingling with flowers panthers’ eyes and human
Skin! Rainbows stretched like bridal reins
Under the horizon of the seas to greenish herds!

These Floridas can be defined broadly by generic categories: absurdism, surrealism, magic realism, the fantastic (see what we did there?), horror, and mythology––just to name a few.

These Floridas can be approximated by ideas: stark contrasts (gritty and glossy, nature and manmade), hidden or erased histories, actual displacement and/or emotional estrangement encapsulated by the idea of tourism, an overabundance of comfort… these ideas trend negative, but they are only few, and highly subjective, and simply meant to set your brain to trudging through the proverbial swamp.

Lastly, these Floridas can accumulate into a mosquito-like word-cloud of free association:
                                 mosquitos, swamp, palmettos, 
                sea turtles, subdivisions, shopping plazas, parking build outs, sea level rise,
                       chancletas, high tide, high rise, saw grass, condos, erosion, 
                                  peninsula, viewed from space, space coast, astronauts, capitalism
                                                crackers, lives oaks, sinkholes, storm windows
                    lakes, brain-eating ameobas, lizards, abandoned roadside attractions 
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 people of all ages, races, genders, abilities and cultural backgrounds.

Listen to your gut. If you’ve read these guidelines and think you’ve got something that’s a good fit, then we’re excited to read it. Thank you for trusting us with your work.