English Journal is NCTE's award-winning journal of ideas for English language arts teachers in junior and senior high schools and middle schools.
Calls for Manuscripts
All manuscripts should be submitted via the Editorial Manager system.
General Interest Submissions
We publish articles of general interest as space is available. You may submit manuscripts on any topic that will appeal to EJ readers. Remember that EJ articles foreground classroom practice and contextualize it in sound research and theory. As you know, EJ readers appreciate articles that show real students and teachers in real classrooms engaged in authentic teaching and learning. Regular manuscript guidelines regarding length and style apply.
Poetry: Muses and Musing
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2020
Publication Date: May 2021
Editor: Toby Emert
And wishes … are a part of what poetry is all about.
—Kenneth Koch, Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry
In her essay “My Father’s Love Letters,” poet Tess Gallagher describes connecting with her distant father through a poem she wrote for his birthday, which, when she read it to him, provoked him to say simply, “Now, that’s something.” Poetry is a powerful art with the capacity to express—often in abbreviated form—our wishes, lies, and dreams and to help us connect—often in unexpected ways—with readers and listeners. It engages our imagination, loosens our vocabulary, and indulges our penchant for sound and song and metaphor. Anyone can write a poem. Anyone can be touched by a poem.
In this issue of the journal, we invite writers to share their musings about interactions with poems and poets, as well as stories about the muses that inspire their writing, the writing they ask students to do, and the lessons that have kindled students’ affections for poetry. Which poets do students want to read again? How do you engage students as critical readers of poetry and also encourage them to develop lasting relationships with poems? What connections do you make between contemporary poetry and the poems often included in the canon? When and how do poems influence lessons that are not specifically about poetry? Who are your poetry muses and how do you help students to find theirs? What obstacles hinder students’ love of poetry and how have you tackled those obstacles? What does poetry do for students that other literary forms cannot? When have students responded to poetry in a way that echoes Gallagher’s father response, declaring a poem “something”?
Counternarratives and Perspectives
Submission Deadline: January 1, 2021
Publication Date: September 2021
Editor: R. Joseph Rodríguez
[T]his is not a history book. At least not like the ones you’re used to reading in school. The ones that feel more like a list of dates (there will be some), with an occasional war here and there . . . the paragraph that’s read during Black History Month (Harriet! Rosa! Martin!). This isn’t that. . . . Instead, what this is, is a book that contains history. A history directly connected to our lives as we live them right this minute. This is a present book. A book about here and now.
—Ibram X. Kendi, from Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
As English language arts teachers, we believe that stories, histories, herstories, and all stories have a place in the lives of our students as they come to know themselves. The book Stamped is a “remix” of Kendi’s original book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. As Kendi explains in the introduction to the Stamped remix, students often experience history as a catalogue of dates and facts to be read, memorized, and regurgitated. However, what if counternarratives came alive in the present and connected to our everyday ideas, literacies, struggles, and transactions?
For this issue of English Journal, the editors invite articles about your lessons and assignments that engage students to consider counternarratives and perspectives as part of literary history. Which author perspectives do students study that counternarrate past thinking or accepted biases? How are stories interconnected to literature, antiracism, or power at this moment? Which assignments invite students to rethink the role of literary history and narratives? How are important literacy perspectives between teachers and students established and sustained in the study of literature via counternarratives?
The Art of the Essay
Submission Deadline: May 1, 2021
Publication Date: January 2022
Editor: R. Joseph Rodríguez
Reading and writing, like any other crafts, come to the mind slowly, in pieces. But for me, as an E.S.L. student from a family of illiterate rice farmers, who saw reading as snobby, or worse, the experience of working through a book, even one as simple as “Where the Wild Things Are,” was akin to standing in quicksand, your loved ones corralled at its safe edges, their arms folded in suspicion and doubt as you sink.
—Ocean Vuong, from “Surrendering” (essay)
Essais means “attempts” or “tests” in French. The essay genre is credited to Montaigne, who wrote, published, and revised his book titled Essays from 1570 to 1592. The purpose of the book was to record “some traits of my character and of my humors.”
In the essay “Surrendering,” Vuong describes his literacy journey as interconnected to various moments and people in his life to become a writer. He adds, “I was a fraud in a field of language, which is to say, I was a writer. I have plagiarized my life to give you the best of me.”
For this issue of English Journal, teachers are invited to consider the essay as a genre in today’s classroom and to examine the “attempts” that students and teachers undertake as writers. How do you introduce and guide students to reading and writing essays—from creative and argumentative to expository and multimodal? Which essayists stand out and appeal to your students? How do your lessons and assignments engage students to analyze the writing moves of essayists, memoirists, and even poets when “suspicion and doubt” appear? Which assignments invite your students to rethink the essay as a genre that is neither fixed nor scripted into five paragraphs, but open for creative and critical thinking? How do students “work through” writing essays in their unique voices that can challenge traditional interpretations of the genre? How are students experiencing essay writing and communication in varied forms and media? For this issue, submissions written as essays between 1,500 and 3,000 words are welcome and strongly encouraged.
Speaking My Mind
We invite you to speak out on an issue that concerns you about English language arts teaching and learning. If your essay is published, it will appear with your photo in a future issue of EJ. We welcome essays of 1,000 to 1,500 words, as well as inquiries regarding possible subjects.
Editors: Peter Elliott, Lone Star College, University Park, Texas; and Alexa Garvoille, MFA Program, Creative Writing, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
“To live in this world / you must be able / to do three things: / to love what is mortal; / to hold it / against your bones knowing / your life depends on it; / and, when the time comes to let it go, / to let it go.” These words from Mary Oliver’s poem “In Blackwater Woods” speak not only to how to live in this world but also to how we learn and teach. As teachers, we hold against our bones so much that our lives depend on—helping a student, learning a difficult concept, speaking up for justice, or reading a favorite text—but then must learn to let go. In the pages of English Journal, we look to publish well-crafted poems that connect our readers to topics central to English education: the impact of reading and writing on young people, words and language, classroom stories, and reflections on teaching and learning. Poetry reminds us, as educators, how to live in this world.
Submit your work by emailing an attachment to email@example.com. Use the subject line “Poetry Submission for Review.” The first page of the attached document should be a cover sheet that includes your name, address, email, and a two-sentence biographical sketch. In your bio, include how long you have been a member of NCTE, if applicable, and a publishable contact email. Following the cover sheet, include from one to five original poems in the same document. Though we welcome work of any length, shorter pieces (thirty lines and under) often work best for the journal. Poems must be original and not previously published. Simultaneous submissions are welcome, though writers must immediately withdraw from consideration any poems that are to be published elsewhere by contacting the editors via email.
Poets whose work is published will receive two complimentary copies of the issue in which their work appears. Additional inquiries about poetry submissions may be directed to the coeditors at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reading and celebrating your work.
Teacher photographs of classroom scenes and individual students are welcome. Photographs may be uploaded to Editorial Manager at the address above in any standard image format at 300 dpi. Photos should be accompanied by complete identification: teacher/photographer’s name, location of scene, and date photograph was taken. If faces are clearly visible, names of those photographed should be included, along with their statement of permission for the photograph to be reproduced in EJ.
Cartoons should depict scenes or ideas potentially amusing to English language arts teachers. They can be submitted to Editorial Manager at the address above; we can accept any standard graphics format at 300 dpi.
For information on writing for the EJ columns, see the Columns and Column Editors page.
For EJ Submission Guidelines, see Write for Us.
For more information, contact email@example.com.