Calls For Submissions News

Submission Prompt: Get The Beat!

Our next round of submission windows are going to be our first set to follow a submission prompt: get the beat. In this case, we’re basing the prompt on one of the principles of “Systems Wisdom” formed by Donella “Dana” Meadows.

Two Waves of Submission Windows

We have two waves of submission windows with separate submission periods, beginning June 30 and ending July 29.

Below are direct links to each Submission type, once they become available. You can also visit our Submittable page to view all available submission opportunities as they go live.

June 30 through July 14

UNR Fiction - Get The Beat




Visual Art:

Motion Based Art:

July 15 through July 29

Performance Art:

Recording Arts:

Interactive Media:

Research Narratives:

Data Visualizations:

Principles of Systems Wisdom

In Thinking in Systems, Meadows identifies several “systems wisdoms” that she collected over her years of working with systems models and conversing with other systems modelers.  She summarizes these systems wisdoms as follows:

“These are the take home lessons, the concepts and practices that penetrate the discipline of systems so deeply that one begins, however imperfectly, to practice them not just in one’s profession, but in all of life.  They are the behavioral consequences of a worldview based on the ideas of feedback, nonlinearity, and systems responsible for their own behavior.”

Meadows, Thinking In Systems: Primer (p. 170)

Get the Beat of the System

For this submission prompt, consider the question: what does it mean to “get the beat” of any system?

When one begins practicing the principle of getting the beat of the system, one is, essentially, embracing a “look before you leap” mentality.  

“Before you disturb the system in any way, watch how it behaves.”

Meadows, Thinking in Systems (p. 170)

The importance of establishing this behavior as practice is to maintain a focus on facts instead of theories, which helps us all to avoid falling back into the grasp of our own belief systems and misconceptions—or to be misguided or railroaded by the beliefs and misconceptions of others.

What are the facts you can gather about the system in question in order to help you get the beat?The Upper New Review is interested in creative contributions that address this practice of getting the beat: watching how systems behave and critically analyzing or processing this system behavior (in a way that makes sense to you) before taking action to disturb the system in question.

Get the beat: What we’re looking for…

  • Fiction: Have you written a short story, novella, or novel where one or more characters do or do not get the beat?  What happens?
  • Nonfiction: Have you got an essay about what it means to get the beat of the system, and how that process works for you, and what happened when you did?
  • Poetry: What is it about the act of getting the beat that is poetic?  How might the (avoided) consequences of the act make for a good scenario?
  • Visual Art: What does it look like to get the beat of a system?  Can you show us?  How would you photograph the beat?  How would you paint the process, or sculpt it?
  • Motion Art: How does the process of getting the beat of any system change over time?  Can we see how this changes?  Does the beat show up in a video, or a timelapse film?  What kind of short fiction film would you make about getting the beat?
  • Performance Art: What does it look like to dance with systems?  Can you show us the beat?  What kinds of theatrical performances might help us understand what it means to get the beat?
  • Recording Arts: what does it sound like to get the beat of any system?  Is it musical?  Purely environmental acoustic reverberations?  Can we describe the process of getting the beat as a spoken word performance?
  • Interactive Experiences: Have you built an app or software system that allows people to interact with systems to get the beat and understand the consequences of behavior?  What does it do?  How does it work?  Show us under the hood!
  • Research Narratives: Are you doing research about systems behavior?  Have you found the beat yet?  What does it look like?  Have you got any good data to support your observations?  How would you explain your findings to schoolchildren?  Let’s hear about it!
  • Data Visualization: Have you collected data that helps you get the beat of a system?  Let’s see the data set.  Let’s see the ways in which you’ve visualized those data.  Let’s hear your take on how you went through the process of visualizing and analyzing those data to make sense of them.  Tell us your story.

Get the beat: Submit your work!

The Upper New Review is especially interested in creative works that connect the consequences of these behaviors with ecological impacts in the watersheds in which the works occur, wherever those watersheds may be: the Upper New, our neighbors, or the continentals. (Be sure to check our creator categories if you have any questions about which one is your fit.)

During any prompted call for submissions, we will also be open for unprompted submissions, so long as they meet our general submission guidelines.

Don’t wait, deadlines are soon!

Submission windows for these prompts will occur between June 30 and July 29, 2023.

The first deadline is July 14

The second deadline is July 29

By The Upper New Review

The Upper New Review is an environmental literary arts magazine based in the Upper New River basin, which intersects the states of North Carolina and Virginia in the United States of America in present-day North America. We are seeking out place-based creative works from all over the globe.