“In a post-modern society determinedly bending and breaking genres, and genders and ideologies there inscribed, we can find dominants and respondants, myths and aberrations everywhere. However, no other form appears to have generated a counter-tradition on the Western’s scale, and with good reason.” —Jim Kitses, The Western Reader

The American Western is one part history, one part mythology, one part art form, and for millions of others, a part of their everyday life heritage.

For Issue 8 of Ink & Letters, the second in our annual format, we invite artists and writers to envision “The New West,” an intention to explore dimensions of how and why the Western—as a social, cultural, and economic expression of the popular imaginary for millions of people—maintains (or increases or diminishes) in persuasive power over time. Themes resonant with the American Western may include but are not limited to: mythic landscapes in nature, country culture in its many manifestations (music, clothing, art, lifestyle), iconography (boots, hats, horses, coffee, cattle, trails, rangers, six-shooters, white-steepled churches, fences), ideology (chivalry, border disputes, outlaw culture, “Manifest Destiny”), individualism, history (photography, decaying architecture), and more.

The submission deadline is Friday, May 3; see below for guidelines. We welcome a broad range of submissions with emphasis on how ideas of “The West,” “Westerns,” or “American Western Culture” get updated into “NeoWesterns”—that is, the lived and imaginary understandings that comprise “The New West.”

—Garret Castleberry, Guest Editor

Send questions with the subject Ink & Letters “The New West” to Garret at

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Guidelines for artists:

Ink & Letters publishes works in a variety of media—photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, mixed media, photographs of sculpture and installations, as well as graphic design pieces. Please submit hi-res graphics files (300 ppi) in the form of JPG or PDF. For full-bleed pages, please submit for a printable area of 8.5w x 11h for a single page and 11h x 17h for a two-page spread (don't forget to include an 1/8th inch bleed). Please include (where applicable) title, medium and dimensions. Though it's not a requirement, artists are encouraged to submit a rationale statement along with the work. Please include a biographical note of 75 words or less in the body of your e-mail.

Guidelines for writers:

Ink & Letters publishes works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We encourage unsolicited submissions and give each submission careful consideration. Submissions of writing should be sent as e-mail attachments in .docx or .rtf format to Poets may submit up to five poems in a single document, not to exceed ten pages. Prose writers may submit only one piece at a time, not to exceed 3000 words. We are highly interested in shorter prose forms—flash fiction, micro memoir, lyric essays, hybrid forms, etc.—and up to three of these may be submitted in a single document. We welcome simultaneous submissions but ask that you e-mail us to withdraw a piece if it is accepted elsewhere. Our typical response time is within four weeks but sometimes longer, especially for work that advances to the final stages of our decision-making process; please do not query before three months have passed. Please include a biographical note of 75 words or less in the body of your e-mail.

As a curated journal of art, creativity and Christian faith, each issue of Ink & Letters is informed by the intersection of these concerns. Not all of our contributors identify as Christian, however, and we welcome submissions from writers across the spectrum of Christian traditions and beyond.