Middle West Press LLC is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, poetry, and journalism. We publish from 1 to 4 titles annually.
Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.
We are also managers of The Aiming Circle, a Patreon-based community of military-writing practitioners.
Middle West Press LLC, an independent micro-publisher of military-themed and -adjacent literary projects, has issued a call for submissions for poems & 300-word prose “micro-stories” (fiction/non-fiction/memoir) inspired by military uniforms and equipment, for an anthology anticipated to publish in November 2023.
Editors request both new and previously published (reprint) works that center on physical items used, carried, or encountered during military service. This project was inspired by a concept first suggested by U.S. Army veteran and author Vicki Hudson.
For the purposes of this project, “micro-stories” can be defined to include prose-poems, micro-fictions/nonfictions, anecdotes, vignettes, and other forms.
Maximum word-count for each “micro-story” is 300. (The approximate size of one-and-a-half Tweets.)
Maximum line-count for individual poems is 100.
Simultaneous submissions are accepted. There is no submissions fee.
Submit no more than three (3) works. Submit one or more items as a single file in Microsoft Word (.DOC or .DOCX) format.
Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2023.
Notifications of acceptance will occur not later than July 1, 2023.
Contributors will receive complimentary author copies. Editors request first (or 6-month exclusive) and anthology worldwide rights, for both print and e-book editions. Copyrights will revert to contributors following publication.
The editors write:
“The military uniform is a symbol of the service, a tool for the wearer, the representation of a culture. The accouterments have meaning. Some tell of the wearer’s valor, sacrifice, loss, duty, accomplishment, or rite of passage. Some parts are hard-won, like a tab on the right shoulder. Some mark a history, like the overseas ribbon on a sleeve. The combat shirt, the bloused pants, belt exact upon the gig line … Each part of the uniform has meaning. Each uniform tells a story.”
“What is your story? What aspect of your uniform as symbol or character that calls back to your service? What is the story behind the dog tags around your neck, or laced in your boot? The incident that resulted in the Purple Heart, or didn’t because you left theater a combat casualty and the unit forgot you? The tear in your camo pants, hand-stitched? The boots you slung high across the wire, marking passage from soldier to veteran and the journey to arrive at that moment?”
Suggestions for topics include, but are not limited to:
- combat, dress, physical training, mess, maternity, and other uniform types; also, civilian equivalents, such as formal wear & ballgowns
- patches, medals, name tapes, rank insignia, foot wear, and other components of a uniform
- weapons, ammunition, tools, and components of worn equipment
- vehicles, weapons systems, radios, computers, goggles, etc.
- organizational equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), tents, generators, etc.
- lucky totems and talismans; challenge coins; trophies; shadow boxes; ornaments; keepsakes; footlockers; photo albums
For inspiration, editors suggest:
- Book (Chapter 1): The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
- Poem: “Katyusha Rockets” by Brian Turner
- Poem: “The Throwing Gap” by Karen Skolfield
- Poem: “Happy Birthday, Army” by Abby E. Murray
- Book: Six-Word War Stories, edited by Larry Smith
- Website: MilitaryFlashFiction.com
- Micro-Stories: "Seven Micro-Stories on War (and Only One on Love)" by Alex Epstein
- Book: Flashes of War by Katey Schultz
Contributors need not be past or present military service members, although a personal or familial connection to service is preferred. This includes immediate family members. Please provide details in your cover letter.
Also, contributors and poems need not be associated with U.S. armed forces. This project is open to writers with insights into the militaries of other countries.
Middle West Press LLC is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. Our book titles are available for sale in print and e-book editions via on-line retailers, and via select independent and museum bookstores. The business publishes from 1 to 4 titles annually.
In addition to underwriting The Aiming Circle community of practice, past Middle West Press projects include the 2020 anthology "Our Best War Stories: Prize-winning Poetry & Prose from the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards," and the 2019 non-fiction anthology "Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War."