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Call for submissions to The Sick Muse #11!

We are now accepting submissions to The Sick Muse #11. This unique issue will be printed on newsprint and distributed for free to 5000 people! In the spirit of its newspaper format, the theme of the issue is mass media: how do ideas propagate? How does art and knowledge move so that they can move us? How does power play into this? How does form play into this?

As always, The Sick Muse is a platform for the expression of your experiences, feelings, philosophies related to music and art and how it happens in Chicago. Beyond the issue’s theme, we also accept anything that can be printed on a page that hovers around musicking and art-making in Chicago. This could include articles, lyrics, poetry, photography, essays, graphic art, stories, histories, dialogues, profiles, interviews, comics, and love notes.


Featured ($$) Essay + Poster Contest

We are excited to make a public call for two paid commissioned works for our upcoming 11th issue: one written, one visual. While we have commissioned work from individuals before, this is our first time making a public call for paid work, as we make strides to being able to pay all our contributors. Each selected artist/writer will receive $50.

  • Featured Essay (Creative Nonfiction Writing)

We are seeking to publish a thoughtful, creative, and original essay that explores in some way the theme of mass media: how do ideas propagate? How does art and knowledge move so that they can move us? How does power play into this? How does form play into this? The meaning of “mass media” is up for your interpretation. Anything Chicago-related is a plus.

Submissions could be in the form of cultural criticism, personal essays, social commentary, and narrative journalism, but we are also excited by writing that does not conform to form. For this featured essay competition, we are not accepting profiles of a single artist or collective, interviews, or short stories/fiction (but we welcome them in our general submission process!). The selected writer will work with an editor after selection, so the submitted piece can be a rough draft.

Please keep to approximately 1500 words max.

Deadline: December 15th

  • Centerfold Poster

Design a poster for the centerfold! The centerfold sheet of the issue will be a poster that readers can remove and hang on their walls. Posters should in some way explore the theme of mass media: how do ideas propagate? How does art and knowledge move so that they can move us? How does power play into this? How does form play into this? All styles and mediums welcome: the poster can be abstract, informational, aesthetic, or didactic. The poster will be part of a run of 5000 copies on newsprint.

Please submit a detailed sketch of the poster in the appropriate dimensions (see below). If available, include examples of past work or a link to your website/portfolio so we can get a sense of your style.

Deadline: December 15th

Dimension: Centerfold dimensions are 21” x 10”. The final version will be printed in full color (CMYK) on newsprint.


General info:

-When you send us your submission, please let us know the following info: 1) your name as you want it printed 2) your preferred pronouns 3) the title of your submission 4) any other info you want published such as your website, email, handle, collective or band affiliation, etc.

-We do accept previously published writing. Let us know where it was originally published if that’s the case.

Info for visual art submissions:

-Visual submissions should be submitted in CMYK at 300 dpi or higher.

-Please send files as JPEG or PNG.

-Visual submissions do not need to conform to any particular dimensions but please note that full single page image dimensions are 10” x 10” (wxh) And keep in mind that this will be printed on newsprint.

Info for poetry submissions:

-Please make all line breaks clear and let us know if you have particular formatting notes.

Info for lyrics submissions:

-The lyrics section is near and dear to the Sick Muse heart and appears in every issue since the dawn of our existence. In each issue, the writers of the lyrics hand-write, design, or otherwise illustrate their own lyrics (or ask a friend for an assist). Please join this tradition! Get creative with it. See past examples here [gonna link]!

-Each submission of lyrics gets only one page, so please incorporate the text into the visuals. Full single page dimensions are 10” x 10” (wxh).

Send submissions to sickmuse.chi@gmail.com

General submissions deadline: December 1*

Featured ($$) submissions deadline: December 15

*If you need an extension, send us a proposal or rough draft before December 1st.