By Sasha Senal - July 15, 2023

Spectrum Literary Journal is currently open for submissions, and for Volume 67 we will be observing and transgressing binaries.

Spectrum is an annual publication of art and literature based out of UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. For the past 66 years, the magazine has celebrated a spectrum of voices, genres, and topics reflective of the wide range of human experiences, from both new and established writers. We’re particularly passionate about work that defies, bends, or manipulates genre, and we welcome submissions of prose, poetry, visual art, and hybrid literary forms.


Thirty spokes converge on a hub
but it’s the emptiness
that makes a wheel work
pots are fashioned from clay
but it’s the hollow
that makes a pot work
windows and doors are carved for a house
but it’s the spaces
that make a house work
existence makes a thing useful
but nonexistence makes it work

- Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Ch. 11, transl. Red Pine


This excerpt from the Tao Te Ching guides the theme of Spectrum’s Volume 67, along with the following questions: How do existence and nonexistence play in unison? What necessitates emptiness and the environments that shape it? What other dualities are observable? Additionally, what are the limitations of binarism and how can we transgress them? Some submissions might explicitly respond to Lao-Tzu's ideas or address the aforementioned questions, while others might disjoint structure and form as a testament to the transgressions we are seeking to publish. We urge you to come forward with stories that rupture the quotidian and shake free the tethers that restrain us from living as our truest selves. Even a glance that lingers too long can be a story of imprisonment or freedom (or some third thing). We look forward to reading what you have to say about this.

Please click here to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines and to submit your work. Thank you!


Sasha Senal (she/her/they/them)

Editor-in-Chief of Vol. 67

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