Martus is fiercely committed to diversity; that is to say, diversity among ideas and points-of-view as much as among authors and audiences. Decidedly non-academic and devoted to civil discourse, our journal strives to connect its readers to interesting people with compelling truths to tell— truths that are often overlooked, unpopular, ignored, or silenced. Martus delivers scrupulously researched and carefully crafted essays, giving witness where others turn a blind eye.
Published as part of the Flora Levy Humanities Series, Martus is based at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
First Person Singular
First person singular is dedicated to “the art of the personal essay.” In these works, authors probe their firsthand experiences with a subject through well crafted narratives. Whether light or gravely serious, essays published in “First Person Singular” are ultimately testimonial in nature, personal in voice. Subjective and honest, these essays are the authors’ attempts to offer reliable witness to their own encounters with a particular reality.
Reason & Rhetoric
Reason & Rhetoric writers draw upon the best traditions of the essay: interrogating a topic, delivering persuasive insights about it, arguing a point-of-view-- all based on well-researched facts as well as the appeal to reason. While the author’s personal experience may play a role in such essays, it is not central to the writing in the way it would be for essays published in the “First Person Singular” feature. Whereas personal essays depend on honest introspection, the essays published in “Reason & Rhetoric” are outward-looking, inquisitive, and informative. To borrow Aldous Huxley’s description, “Their art consists of setting forth, passing judgements upon, and drawing general conclusions from the relevant data.” The essays in this feature are carefully fact-checked for accuracy.
Riposte & Reply
Riposte & Reply seeks to foster open and respectful conversations between Martus’ writers and our readers. We encourage readers to write thoughtful responses to the things they read in Martus; we welcome the opportunity to publish alternative perspectives in reply to our essayists. Submissions to “Riposte & Reply” should take the form of short essays (1000 - 2500 words) written as rejoinders or rebuttals, or, alternatively, as affirmations or amplifications of essays published in the preceding issue.
Speaking for Themselves
Speaking for Themselves features interviews and oral histories with interesting people from all walks of life. These may include public figures from time to time, but Martus especially invites interviews with people who ordinarily don’t have access to large public platforms for sharing their stories and perspectives. These are the folks who do not speak from inside the insular bubble of celebrity, but rather who give authentic witness to the world as they know it.
Reviews both interpret and critique the creative work of others; at their best, good reviews are creative works unto themselves. Martus seeks reviews of nonfiction books, films, and photography, but we also remind writers that the art of the review does not confine itself to these things. Therefore, we also welcome thoughtful reviews of all kinds, whether the subjects are art, architecture, music, performance, design, or just about anything else that falls within the realm of creative endeavor. Good reviews frequently offer commentary that transcends the thing that’s under critique. Reviews submitted to Martus must be preceded by a query letter or proposal.
Photography is a vital form of nonfiction storytelling. Martus invites photo essay submissions from artists who embrace a documentary approach to the medium. We favor photography that gives witness to the reality of a given moment, the drama of an event, the character of a person. A good photo essay should deliver a small, coherent collection of images (usually 4 - 8) that, together, tell a story or articulate an idea. Photo essays should include an artist’s statement, cogent and concise, to accompany the work. We also seek evocative photo triptychs to serve as the three “cover photos” (that is, the main image at the top of the issue) for each of the three editions Martus publishes per year. These images will be conceptually related in style and subject. Cover photos should be in “landscape orientation.”
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