SUBLEVEL is an online literary magazine devoted to the nexus of literature, poetics, art, criticism, philosophy, culture, and politics. SUBLEVEL inherits and reflects the dynamism of contemporary Los Angeles as a hub of literature, art, and activism, while also stretching beyond our locality. Based in the CalArts MFA Creative Writing Program, an innovative and interdisciplinary environment dedicated to the experimental impulse in writing and thinking, SUBLEVEL is a literary publication immersed in the world of art without being in service to it. We make no hard distinctions between creative and critical enterprise, but rather celebrate writing of any kind that we find stimulating, timely, or otherwise compelling. We will publish original essays, interviews, roundtables, and other features online; there will also be an annual print component. In time SUBLEVEL will expand in ways we can only begin to imagine.


Contagion is most commonly associated with the spread of disease, poison, corruption, harmful practices or ideas, but its Latin root - con- (together) with + tangere (touch) - opens the term in a slightly different direction: co-touching, touching together. Thus: emotional contagion, behavioral contagion, financial contagion, sacred contagion, hysterical contagion, "contagion theory" (the hypnotic effects of crowds), contagion of ideas, contagion of identity. We are thinking about xenophobic fears re: contagion, we are thinking about contagious political sentiment, of both the brutal and hopeful variety. We are thinking about Édouard Glissant's theories of contamination and hybridity. We are thinking about proximity and intimacy. We are thinking about how contagion defies borders, about the virtual and physical aspects of "going viral," about how aesthetic, political, cultural, and spiritual ideas spread, about shared mind and body. We want to think contagion with you.

Open Call: The History of Touching

For the open submission feature, we welcome unpublished work in any genre (including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, criticism, or any combinations thereof) that correlates to the theme of "the history of touching."

Please send submissions to submissions@sublevelmag.com by December 1, 2016. Please include a brief cover letter and bio.


SUBLEVEL is produced in collaboration with the online magazine ENTROPY, and in conversation with EAST OF BORNEO, an online art magazine also housed at CalArts. SUBLEVEL is based in the MFA Creative Writing Program of CalArts but is not a student publication, nor does it publish the work of current students. We neither focus on faculty or alumni of CalArts nor exclude them.


Inquiries about SUBLEVEL can be addressed to sublevelmag@gmail.com.

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