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Atlas Poetica Special Feature Submission Call

Started by light pilgrim, November 18, 2017, 04:08:28 PM

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light pilgrim

Dream Alchemy

DREAMS HAVE BEEN WIDELY LINKED TO INSPIRATION. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it is believed that there are six intermediate stages in living and dying. Each of these 'in-between' phases is called the bar-do and it is viewed as a powerful stage for awakening and discovering the heart of enlightenment.

The si-pai bar-do, which is the liminal state between death and a new rebirth, is widely known due to treatises like the Bar-do Tho-dol (Book of the Dead). However, the mi-lam or dream bar-do too has great mystical significance.  For example, one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist texts, The Sealed and Secret Biography of the Fifth Dalai Lama, also known as the Great Fifth (1617-1682) contains his visionary writings and paintings, which came to him in a series of mystical dreams. Similarly, the founder of the Bhutanese state, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594-1651) instituted the tradition of ritual performances and mask dances, which were inspired by visitations of the tutelary deities in his dreams. These rituals and mask dances are still performed today.

In a much-quoted incident about Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), it is said that he wrote his well-known poem, Kubla Khan, on waking up from a dream. His other poem, The Ancient Mariner, also has this dream-like quality.

The short story, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1883–1924) opens with this passage:
'When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect.'

In Isabel Allende's novel, The House of the Spirits, the main character, Clara, has the faculty of dreaming of events before they occur.

Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca begins with another allusion to dreams. :
'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me.  . . .  Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me . . .'

Alice, the protagonist of Lewis Carroll's novel encounters a world peopled with characters that plays on the logic of dream and fantasy.

Finally, the Argentine novelist and short story writer, Julio Cortazar (1914–1984) said:
'Only in dreams, in poetry, in play do we sometimes arrive at what we were before we were this thing that, who knows, we are.' 

Are dreams important to your writing?
Do you use dreams in your writing?

Dream Alchemy will be published as a Special Feature of 25 tanka on the Atlas Poetica website at: The general guidelines for Atlas Poetica apply. Dream Alchemy will publish summer, 2018.

Please submit five of your best dream-inspired tanka to us. Only one tanka per individual poet will be selected, so please send us your best poems. The poems must be original, previously unpublished and not under consideration by any other journal. Poems posted on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or personal blogs will be considered.

Send submissions to Sonam Chhoki with the subject line: "Submission–Dream Alchemy". Please send your tanka in the body of the email. Do not send attachments, which will be deleted. Please include a brief  (not more than 5 lines) bio-note about your writing.

Submission period: 30th November 2017–31st January 2018.

Acceptance or non-acceptance of submissions will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline.

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