Call for Submissions, Issue 04: Breath

Breath: Respiration/Reparation

Breath has a deep and complex human history. Believing the chest to be the location of the soul, early Greek thinkers gave the name ​pneuma​, translated as both spirit and intellect, to all that could be breathed in and out. When, later on, the Stoics identified ​pneuma ​as the organizing force of the individual and the universe alike, they anticipated the importance that breathing would once again have in contemporary medicine and culture.

From the seminal memoir ​When Breath Becomes Air ​by Paul Kalanithi (2016) to Durham University’s ​Life of Breath​ project, breathing has been critically and creatively given form as a polyvalent process with clinical and social significance, acquiring a special role in the medical humanities. Breath has long been a vehicle for meditation, ritual practices, and connecting with one’s bodily experience. When our breath holds or quickens, it informs us of our extremes: uncertainty and hope, joy and sorrow, restfulness and overexertion. We wait with bated breath and catch it again. Recently, breathing and breathlessness have become symbols of political and racial oppression: the final words of Eric Garner, “I can’t breathe,” became the rallying cry of a protest movement. As a pandemic swept the world, breath indexed signs and symptoms of health and illness. Meanwhile, groups looking to resist mask mandates, too, wielded the claim of breathlessness. Respiration has acquired layers of thick and variegated collective meaning. In any context, needless to say, breathing tells a story.

Tendon’s ​fourth issue brings together creative and critical work on breath and breathing with an emphasis on its reparative and regenerative aspect. Specifically, we are looking for submissions that take one or more of the following into consideration:

  • History of breath and breathing
  • Breathing and care, disability, healing, or loss
  • Breathing and the body in movement
  • Breathing and ritual
  • Breathing and oral histories, family stories, or fairy tales
  • Breathing and bodily politics or the body politic
  • Breath in the crosshairs of oppression, injustice, or acts of witness
  • Transformation unfolding through breath or breathlessness
  • Breath and breathing in everyday life: holding your breath, releasing a deep breath, taking a breather, sighing, losing your breath, using breath to sing or recite poetry, breathing to calm or center, baby’s first breath, taking your last breath

Tendon​ will be accepting submissions until ​April 30, 2021​ at ​tendonmag@gmail.com​. In your email, please attach your submission as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf, and include:

  • Preferred Name
  • Genre Label: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Critical Perspectives, or Visual Art
  • Brief Author’s Bio (2-4 sentences)
  • Social Media Handle (if any)