Subject Content:

 Dappled Things is a Catholic literary magazine, and this raises the question of what Catholic literature is in the first place. Rather than give you a pat answer, we invite you as a contributor to help us explore that question. You should, however, keep in mind the following:

  •   Catholicism has a profoundly rich history; we tend to favor pieces that seriously engage and are informed by those riches. At the same time, we seek work that does not simply put old wine into new wineskins. Rather, we encourage innovation that is in conversation with the riches of Christianity’s tradition in art, thought, and practice;
  •   We cherish wit, but have little patience for pretentiousness, cynicism, or sneering. We expect that, at their core, pieces published in the magazine will grow out of a love and understanding of the cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, temperance, and fortitude; the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love; and the redemptive theme that transpires from the Nicene Creed.
  •   At the same time, we value work that is truthful through and through, meaning that it explores reality honestly and unflinchingly, without whitewashing or sugarcoating. To unveil the truth about the beauty and goodness of the world, one must not hide the facts of the Fall;
  •   Pieces need not be overtly religious to be eligible for publication. Remember that Catholic means universal;
  •   Whatever else your piece succeeds in doing, quality of craftsmanship is a sine qua non.

  Dappled Things accepts simultaneous submissions. If you are submitting your work to other journals at the same time, please explicitly state that in your cover letter, and notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. 

  At this time, fiction and poetry submissions will be open within an annual reading period of February 1 to May 31. Nonfiction, book reviews, and guest blog posts continue to be read and accepted on a rolling basis. 

Writers are invited to submit their poems for a new anthology inspired by the writings of Søren Kierkegaard. Submission for the contest is free and the deadline is December 1, 2022. One poem of no more than 50 lines may be submitted per participant. All poems should be previously unpublished.

The contest is co-sponsored by Wiseblood Books and Dappled Things, a quarterly of ideas, art, and faith.

All winners will receive book publication in Homage to Søren Kierkegaard: An Anthology in Honor of Rev. Ronald F. Marshall. The five winners will receive cash prizes:

  • First Place ($500)
  • Second Place ($200)
  • Third Prize winners (3 prizes at $100 each)

The contest will be judged by Dana Gioia and Mary Grace Mangano.

The anthology is being developed in honor of Rev. Ronald F. Marshall (1948-2021) who served as pastor at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle and taught theology at NW Theological Union. Marshall was a prolific reader and brilliant teacher, known for his community activism on behalf of the hungry and homeless. He also a published two major books on Søren Kierkegaard: Kierkegaard for the Church and Kierkegaard in the Pulpit: Sermons Inspired by His Writings.

In addition to the winning poems, the anthology, Homage to Søren Kierkegaard, will gather some previously published poems on Kierkegaard, including some of Marshall’s original poems.  In Rev. Marshall's journals, he copied quotes from Kierkegaard’s writings to serve as inspiration for his own poems, only a few of which he finished. Contest participants are encouraged, but not required, to use these quotes to inspire their own writing.

Homage to Søren Kierkegaard will be published by Wiseblood Books, in collaboration with the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston. In honor of Rev. Ronald F. Marshall, his wife Jane Harty will contribute biographical information and oversee publication.

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OPTIONAL PROMPTS

The following quotes from Kierkegaard may serve as prompts, though there is no requirement to use them:

Lay Aside the Customary -- Kierkegaard, KW XVIII:53 (1849)

“This preface contains nothing more than an entreaty that the reader will first practice laying aside part of his customary mode of thinking. Otherwise the issue as it is presented here will not exist for him at all—and, strangely enough, precisely because long ago he was already finished with it, but in the reverse position.”

The Stentoriousness of the Amen -- Kierkegaard, KW IX:27 (1844)

“Writing is not speaking; sitting at a desk and copying what is said is only baneful toil in comparison with stepping forth in an assembly, looking at a great throng who all are inspired by the same ting and for the same thing, having the stillness enter in like the prayer before battel, having the word break forth like the thunder of combat, being oneself transported by the silence that is the silence of attention, hearing the whisper that is the whisper of approval, sensing the stentoriousness of the Amen of conviction. Yes indeed, only a general assembly inspires. Only the sound of a crowd affects a speaker as martial music does, as the whistle of the bowstring affects the warrior.”

Never Celebrate Ahead of Time -- Kierkegaard, KW VII:111 (1844)

“…the faith that celebrates triumphantly is the most ludicrous of all. If the contemporary generation of believers did not find time to celebrate triumphantly, then no generation finds it, for the task is identical, and faith is always in conflict, but as long as there is conflict, there is the possibility of defeat. Therefore, with regard to faith, one never celebrates triumphantly ahead of time, that is, never in time, for when is there the time to compose songs of victory of the opportune occasion to sing them! If it does happen, then it is as if an army, drawn up to move into battle, were instead to march back to the city barracks in triumph.”

Truth Begins in Untruth -- Kierkegaard, KW XXIV:170 (1846)

“If anyone says: But there the extraordinary indeed begins with an untruth, yes, makes God a confidant in the untruth with which he begins—then the answer must be: All true communication of truth must always begin with an untruth. This is partly because it is impossible to tell the whole truth in one minute or in an even shorter time. On the contrary, it takes perhaps a long, long time for that. This is also partly because the first untruth is only a reduplication—the true communication of truth is circumspectly aware of the contingency that it was indeed possible that the recipients were in untruth, in which contingency the direct communication of the true would become untruth. This is ‘reflexion’—the critical element of the communication of truth. Christ’s own life manifests this…”

Nothing But a Street-Corner Loafer -- Kierkegaard, KW XXII:61 (1849)

“That was the way I existed, shoring up the esthetic writing (in addition breaking with all cliques) and entirely with the polemical aim of regarding every eulogy as an attack, but every attack as something to which no attention was to be paid. That was the way I existed publicly. I almost never made visits, and at home one thing was strictly observed—unconditionally not receive anyone except the poor who asked for help. There was no time for visits at home, and in a visit someone could easily come to suspect what he was not supposed to suspect. That is the way I existed. If Copenhagen was ever of one single opinion about someone, I dare say it has been of one opinion about me: I was a street-corner loafer, an idler, a flaneur[lounger], a frivolous bird, a good, perhaps even brilliant pate, witty, etc.—but I completely lacked ‘earnestness.’ I represented the worldly mentality’s irony, the enjoyment of life, the most sophisticated enjoyment of life—but of ‘earnestness and positivity’ there was not a trace; I was, however, tremendously interesting and pungent.”

As Simple as Pulling on One’s Socks -- Kierkegaard, KW XX:35 (1850)

“Christ’s teaching was taken, turned, and scaled down; he himself guaranteed the truth as a matter of course—a man whose life had had such consequences in history. Everything became as simple as pulling on one’s socks—naturally, for in that way Christianity has become paganism. There is in Christendom an everlasting Sunday babbling about Christianity’s glorious and priceless truths, its gentle consolation, but of course, one bears in mind that it is eighteen hundred years since Christ lived. The sign of offense and the object of faith has become the most fabulous of all fabulous characters, a divine Mr. Goodman. One does not know what it is to be offended, even less what it is to worship […] Christendom has abolished Christianity without really knowing itself. As a result, if something must be done, one must attempt to introduce Christianity into Christendom.”

Lightning Usually Strikes Churches -- Kierkegaard, KW XX:247 (1850)

“…Christianity has gradually become sheer nonsense; no wonder, to recall something Luther said in one of his sermons, no wonder that ‘lightning’ (the fire of God’s anger) ‘most frequently strikes churches.’ No wonder, or rather, how strange that it does not strike every Sunday in order to hit that type of preaching, which is nothing but a kind of dissoluteness, for the speaker falsely ascribes to himself and his listeners something that is not at all true of them.”

An Extremely Dangerous Good -- Kierkegaard, KW XVI:198 (1847)

“No, Christianity is not an extremely rare flower in the human sense, nor is it the rarest of flowers—that kind of talk is pagan and worldly and does not go beyond the merely human conception. In the divinesense Christianity is the highest good and therefore also, in the human sense, an extremely dangerous good, because, understood in a merely human way, it is so far from being a rare flower that it is an offense, a foolishness, now as in the beginning and as long as the world lasts.”

Moved By All – Yet Changed by Nothing (Prayer) -- Kierkegaard, KW XX1II:268 (1855)

“You Changeless One, whom nothing changes! You who are changeless in love, who just for our own good do not let yourself change—would that we also might will our own well-being, let ourselves be brought up, in unconditional obedience, by your changelessness to find rest and to rest in your changelessness! You are not like a human being. If he is to maintain a mere measure of changelessness, he must not have too much that can move him and must not let himself be moved too much. But everything moves you, and in infinite love. Even what we human beings call a trifle and unmoved pass by, the sparrow’s need, that moves you; what w so often scarcely pay attention to, a human sigh, that move you, Infinite Love. But nothing changes you, you Changeless One! O you who in infinite love let yourself be moved, may this our prayer also move you to bless it so that the prayer may change the one who is praying into conformity with your changeless will, you Changeless One!”

Blessed Restlessness -- Kierkegaard, KW XV:218 (1847)

“What I am seeking is not here, and for that very reason I believe it. Faith expressly signifies the deep, strong, blessed restlessness that drives the believer so that he cannot settle down at rest in this world, and therefore the person who has settled down completely at rest has also ceased to be a believer, because a believer cannot sit still as one sits with a pilgrim’s staff in one’s hand—a believer travels forward.”

Impatient As a Woman in Labor -- KW KW V:69 from 18 Upbuilding Discourses

“How could anyone have much time for human minutiae when he is heading, under the full sail of hope, toward the perfect? But if apostolic speech is always as impatient as woman in labor, then the two considerations in particular are likely to stir up even more—on the one hand, the idea that the night is over and day has broken, that the night has lasted long enough and the point is to use the day; on the other hand, the idea that the time is coming when one can no longer work, that the days are numbered, the end is near, that the end of all things is approaching.”

My Refuge is in the Crucified One -- KW XVII:280 from Christian Discourses

“—never has the need for a redeemer been clearer than when he human race crucified the Redeemer. From this moment I will no longer believe in myself; I will not let myself be deceived, as if I were better because I was not tried as were those contemporaries. No, apprehensive about myself as I have become, I will seek my refuge with him, the Crucified One. I will beseech him to save me from evil and to save me from myself. Only when saved by him and with him, only when he holds me fast, do I know that I will not betray him. The anxiety that wants to frighten me away from him, so that I, too, could betray him, is precisely what will attach me to him; then I dare to hope that I will hold fast to him—how would I not dare to hope this when that which wants to frighten me away is what binds me to him! I will not and I cannot do it, because he moves me irresistibly; I will not inclose myself in myself with this anxiety or with this guilt consciousness that I, too, have betrayed him—I would rather, as a guilty one, belong to him redeemed.”

PLEASE READ ALL OF THE GUIDELINES BELOW BEFORE SUBMITTING

Essays published in Dappled Things receive a payment of $100. In addition, all pieces submitted to our nonfiction section will automatically be considered for our yearly Jacques Maritain Prize for Nonfiction. The three prize winners will be selected by an independent judge from among all the nonfiction pieces published in the magazine during the previous year. The prize winner will be announced in January 2019, with winners being selected from among the preceding four issues of the journal.

The prize amounts are as follows:

First prize: $500

Second prize: $300

Third prize: $200

All text submissions should use 12-point Times New Roman font. Writers should only use one space after periods and other forms of punctuation.

  We are not interested in work that uses an overly academic tone. Avoid jargon and send us work that will be of interest to the well-informed non-specialist. Instead of including a list of works cited, include any citations in journalistic style, as a part of the piece itself. We are open to a wide range of topics and  approaches; take a look through past editions of the journal to see what sort of nonfiction we publish. You may use this category for submitting essays, memoirs, interviews, and other nonfiction articles, but please submit book reviews through the category specifically designated for them. Note that neither interviews nor book reviews are eligible for the Jacques Maritain Prize.

  Please send only one non-fiction piece at a time and wait for a response before making a new submission.

  Please include a byline in your cover letter that we can use in our contributor notes if your piece is selected for publication.

If you are interested in submitting and interview to Dappled Things, we encourage you to first pitch your idea by emailing dappledthings.aparicio [at] gmail [dot] com to see if we are interested. Please note that your interview should not only include questions and answers, but also an introduction of around three paragraphs that introduces readers to your interview subject and the topic you will discuss (we encourage you to read interviews in our archives for reference). All interviews published in Dappled Things receive a payment of $100. 

All text submissions should use 12-point Times New Roman font. Writers should only use one space after periods and other forms of punctuation.

We are not interested in work that uses an overly academic tone. Avoid jargon and send us work that will be of interest to the well-informed non-specialist. Instead of including a list of works cited, include any citations in journalistic style, as a part of the piece itself. We are open to a wide range of topics and  approaches; take a look through past editions of the journal to see what sort of nonfiction we publish. You may use this category for submitting essays, memoirs, interviews, and other nonfiction articles, but please submit book reviews through the category specifically designated for them. Note that neither interviews nor book reviews are eligible for the Jacques Maritain Prize.

Please send only one non-fiction piece at a time and wait for a response before making a new submission.

Please include a byline in your cover letter that we can use in our contributor notes if your piece is selected for publication.

You may submit up to ten images at a time. Please look through previous editions of the journal to get an idea of the type of work we have published in the past.

Dappled Things pays $50 for reviews over 900 words and $20 for shorter reviews. Send only reviews of books no older than two years. Feel free to send a query to DTbookreviews [at] gmail [dot] com if you want to know whether we'd be interested in a particular book.

You may submit up to two non-fiction articles at a time for consideration on the "Deep Down Things" weblog. Essays, memoirs, interviews, and book reviews are all welcome. The Catholic literary philosophy of the magazine should be respected.

Please include a biographical note.
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