Human expression is never orderly. It is a space of disruption. To let ourselves express means to be vulnerable. It means to invert syntax so as to articulate the visceral.
In 1862, Edouard Manet painted Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass). In 1863 it was rejected by the Paris Salon—the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, one of the art academies in Paris. Undeterred, Manet showed his work at another exhibit, Salon des Refusés, French for "exhibition of rejects,” where it generated both positive and negative responses. What we love about this story is that Manet believed in the power of his work even when the Salon jury did not. He knew its value, and he wasn't going to let others decide whether it deserved to be seen. He knew that the establishment shouldn't have the final say.
At Inverted Syntax, we feel similarly. We want to be your Salon des Refusés. We believe that something is missing from the current literary and visual arts landscape— work that feels rogue, daring. Work that breaks the rules. Work that doesn't have any rules. We don’t want work that adheres to outdated definitions. We want experimental. We want hybrid. We want progressive. We want work that takes unorthodox approaches to form and aesthetics. We want work that rebels against the establishment and pushes us toward something we have yet to define— or perhaps something that resists definition altogether. We want memorable, haunting approaches to art and language that turn us inside out and convey novel insights into the human experience. We want it all.
Inverted Syntax is an independent art and literary journal edited by (mostly) volunteer MFA graduates of the Mile-High MFA at Regis University, and published annually in print. Inverted Syntax is funded entirely through Inverted Syntax Press LLC. Inverted Syntax is published in print once a year, and at least twice a year online through our Fissured Tongue Series.
Founded in December 2017 by Nawal Nader-French and Mile-High MFA graduates, Inverted Syntax started as an online space to celebrate the Mile-High MFA community with the hope of one day evolving into a literary journal. By early 2018, thanks to support of many Mile-High MFA graduates, especially Ashley Spurgeon, Hillary Leftwich, Kateri Kramer, and Stephanie Vessely, Nawal moved forward in creating her vision for a literary journal.
Since August of 2018, Inverted Syntax has been edited exclusively by Nawal, Jesica Davis, Allissa Hertz, and Melanie Merle. Ted Downum and Traci Jones have been dedicated fiction readers since the journal started accepting submissions, and editorial assistants, Ginny Short and Yesica Mirambeaux have been committed readers of all submissions readers since 2019. Jason Masino and Ashley Bunn read on an as needed basis.
We are thrilled to welcome to the team, contributor and poetry reader, André O. Hoilette!
In 2019, we started our annual contest, the Sublingua Prize for Poetry with Dorothea Lasky judging in 2019 and Khadijah Queen judging in 2020.
**Due to staffing limitations, we will not be able to run the contest in 2021 nor publish an issue.
Look for us in 2022