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Spotlight is a regular series published every other Monday throughout the year, showcasing an individual writer or artist. Writers Read is an occasional series showcasing craft-based reviews of published works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and translation. À La Carte is a curated occasional series featuring short pieces by writers from underrepresented or historically misrepresented communities and/or writing that engages with issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. Litdish is an occasional series of interviews with writers and artists in conversation with our staff about literature, art, social justice, and community activism.
Pastor says we’re all dead inside. That death is akin to riding a seatless bike. That death is the sound of rain and falling. It is the peculiar way mobile Jesus smiles at me from his particle-board cross. It is how my father died drunk and alone
in Hank’s used car lot.
Once I told my doctor if only I was not estranged from my mother, I’d know what to expect from menopause. “That’s ridiculous,” the doctor said. “Your mother had children. You’ve never even been pregnant. Her experience would have no bearing on yours. Feel badly about the estrangement if you like, but not because of this.”
Before me, I see dandelions displayed like jewelry. Each atop a hand carved wooden stand. I blow into each in turn. Some make declarations, some scream or roar, some converse and others lecture, others say nothings in the ear.
This year the number I call the most now is the pharmacy. I have to wonder who you were when I was born because I feel you in both root and stem but I’ll never be sorry to have eaten the sky.
The whistle had filled Yara’s dreams for a long time now—ever since she first heard it in the form of an incoming bullet that lodged itself in her best friend’s ribcage. More than anything she saw or heard that day, it was the whistle that most haunted her. It was the first time she understood that the promise of imminent chaos was always somehow worse than the actual chaos itself.[…]
Posed beside her husband, is this what my great-grandmother feared, bleached hand pressed gently against cherry oak skin?
People need to be seen and heard. There needs to be space where survivors can decide what healing looks and feels like for them. Awakenings is one of those places. That solidarity component is vital. Even if their experiences look different, we must get to the core of what it means to be human.
I split the pockets of stillness left hovering on a naked afternoon. Halves drop like discarded agreements—one half in the floundering arms of the sea, another in the blanks of this book I’ve beenmpretending to read, if at all.
In fiction, we take things from our own lives and things we hear, and we fictionalize them, and we make them up, and we appropriate them for our own, but somehow I think there’s this feeling with poets sometimes that that’s dishonest when done in a poem, and I don’t think it is.
The snake rears its head, its thick green body gleaming in the light. A stripe of yellow runs along its stomach. We are transfixed, frozen, burning feet forgotten. I want to touch the snake, feel the cool curve of its muscle wrap across my legs and pull me to the ground.
I see you’ve renounced your birthplace, which is of course your right. You will dream of male sunbirds feeding on nectar mid-air. When they come for you, they will ask about your love’s name, her contours, her address.
Writing a book is no more of a craft challenge than writing an article—they both involve skills that come with practice. In approaching different mediums, novel writing requires more personal reflection.
The big hitters in the audiobook world have found a beautiful balance between a performance and a conversation with a friend. The people who are most successful acknowledge that this performance is different from acting on the stage or on film, even though many of them have that background.
Sasha Louis Bush’s ongoing series Rock, Paper, Scissors, uses elementary school classrooms in New York City as a shared creative space, serving both children and adults.[…]
Disability as entertainment. For entertainment purposes only. For compelling narratives. We give to telethons and walkathons and passionate speechification to keep all disease away… like throwing virgins or dogs—sometimes entire cities—into or under volcanoes to appease the gods.[…]
I certainly see an awakening of sorts right now. In this moment in particular I see it on the part of people of color in publishing, who I think have been marginalized for a very long time and are gaining confidence to speak up and are seeing openings for that. Maybe this moment will open up some doors, but I think it’s going to be painful for some people to address those realities. I welcome it.[…]
Yan An’s poems are highly experimental, unconventional, and unique according to the standards and traditions of Chinese culture, considering their aesthetic value, contents, philosophical denotations, and meanings. As a pioneer in modern westernized Chinese poetry, Yan An has completely transformed Chinese readers’ concepts and understanding of poetry through his unique views about the universe, life, society, and people.[…]
History is a border mining town where the immigrant citizen workers were loaded and deported on trains across the line and none of the high school history teachers know about the Bisbee Deportation. None of the history teachers teach the Bisbee Deportation names crushed into dark shafts banished on ghost trains. History knows about systemic indifference and the looting of voices.
This is not surgery, but delicate massage, feeling the flour fall into thickening milk, caving into the mix from the sides, birthing like a glacier into that fabulous muck hole, oozing between her fingers as she delicately mixes a quicksand of sorts, widening its territory until the feel is just right. Not too much, not too little.
but I fell in love over the phone in 1989, his name two low notes shoved out my throat, repeated like a gulf smacking shore rocks in starlight, our letters tucked between issues of Uncanny X-Men because I did not want a willow switch across my back
The hijab had made her feel blessed when she had first been allowed to put it on. She thought she was praising Allah. She knew she was pleasing her father. He had looked at her in a different way that day.[…]
This was different. This was x-rays, exams, and endless procedures. Like everything in this god-forsaken land, her body seemed to be drying up beneath the unrelenting sun.[…]
The women from my mother’s generation would have held their hands to their cheeks in shock and dismay. They would have cursed me for acting like a widow when I was fortunate to have a husband, alive and well! They would have whispered darkly about me, the irresponsible married woman who wore the symbol of widowhood so blithely![…]
I think of Korean immigrant writers who lived longer in the United States than I have, writers who wanted to share their stories but died without doing so. And others who did, wrote in Korean and were not translated. Their immigrant experiences are different from mine. That is why I feel compelled to write and share stories on behalf of those voiceless, invisible, powerless women.[…]
She has tried opening up about her trauma to people she thought she could trust, but some friends distanced themselves or chided her for not “getting over it” when her story didn’t fit neatly into a survivor narrative. They didn’t want to hear how the twin poisons of abuse and silence seep their way into the body, how even the most processed trauma lies latent.[…]
Shannon’s use of watercolor and India Ink are unforced and create beauty within flaws while crafting an earthy grunge appearance.
check under the keyboard because that generation no
try: [my name + sister’s name] he liked me more no
You are invasive, like water through stone cracking grey
shimmers inside, like jelly fish in the Pacific swimming,
stuck to legs and arms, stinging skin in the salty brine.
I need to tell the stories of African American people’s history and accomplishments in hope of strengthening and building confidence in the community. I examine the precious moments that have been erased from our timelines and that need to be brought back, such as their backbreaking work and the unforgivable wrongs they endured.[…]
isn’t it funny how
femininity is shamed even when it’s on women? i find it funny as a man very much in touch with his feminine side just how much of men’s hatred of women gets projected on me.[…]