It’s with a superabundance of gratitude that Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices presents our annual print issue—our first since 2020, owing to last year’s pandemic-related hiatus. If you’re new to our literary journal, welcome: You’re about to enjoy a volume of words and images that reflect our values of championing marginalized voices and fighting oppression.
For fifteen years, Solstice has celebrated the diversity of ethnicities, races, ages, gender and sexual identities, religions, and socioeconomic classes—as well as neurodiversity. We’ve no intention of stopping now, and the proof is in these pages. Our Nonfiction section includes (among other work) a piece by Alysia Abbott on raising an autistic son; an essay by Russian-born poet A. Molotkov on the war in Ukraine; and Joy von Steiger’s timely and timeless piece about reproductive rights and the criminalization of the female body, beginning with her tenth great grandmother, Mary Dyer—the only woman hanged in 1660 on Boston Common as a religious activist.
The war in Ukraine is also a prevalent theme of our Poetry in Translation section—specifically, the poems of Yulia Berezhko-Kaminska and Olesya Mamchych, both of whom are Ukrainian war refugees. In a poem dated April 3, 2022, Yulia writes:
And all around—the city is on fire, choking.
But when it quiets down—
At least for a while—
I see spring is coming…
War is also the subject of a piece in our Poetry section by Zibiquah Denny, a Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk from Wisconsin and one of our Contributing Editors. Zibiquah, who is also an essayist, strives to tell stories that educate by writing from an indigenous perspective—and her poetry is no exception:
The ugliness of war,
Genocide and Holocaust,
Still lingers in our collective minds,
As we feed our slow
And painful death
Heroin, crack, cocaine,
Vodka, whiskey and wine…
Of course, even in war-torn times, war is not the only subject matter of artistic expression. Our Poetry section also offers Edward Gunawan’s piece on falling in love as a “burgeoning queer kid” in the 90s and Brittany Adames’ mouth-watering poem on mangú, a Dominican dish of mashed plantains.
Our Fiction section, as well as featuring a stunning selection of stories, includes two interviews with authors of note. Solstice founder and president Lee Hope sat down with Jabari Asim, who, on top of his two novels, has published a poetry volume, a collection of sixteen connected stories, three children’s books, and several nonfiction books. In addition, Solstice contributing editor Elizabeth Searle had a conversation with Ann Harleman—author of three novels and two short story collections, one of which, Happiness, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award.
I encourage you to read the individual genre Editors’ Notes to learn much more about the writers and writing featured in this issue. Finally, I want to thank our dedicated editors for making this issue a reality. In Nonfiction, Richard Hoffman and Jill Frances Johnson; in Poetry in Translation, Barbara Siegel Carlson and Ewa Chrusciel; in Poetry, Robbie Gamble; in Fiction, Lee Hope and Anjali Mitter Duva; in photography, William Betcher; in Digital and Graphic Lit, Drai Whitted; also our Managing Editor Annaka Saari; and Erica Charis-Molling.