“As African Americans, when we play, we play hard,” says Johnnie Davis, Director of Serenity House, a program that provides services for women who have been raped or molested, and experience homelessness, and/or mental health or emotional issues, tells me inside Serenity House’s ocean-colored walls.
I took a class to learn how to meditate. It didn’t go well. At least I didn’t keep falling asleep, like one guy did. I was always thinking about food. (This kind of stuff seems to have that effect on me — I took a yoga class some years ago, and all I could think about was: Is this over soon so I can go have a beer? And I don’t even really drink beer.)
Two days after Srinivas Kuchibhotlas was shot dead at a bar in Kansas, his wife Sunayana Dumala spoke at a press conference about her concern for staying on in America. “I often asked my husband,” she revealed, her voice breaking, “are we doing the right thing (by) staying.” Sunayana’s fears hint at the awkward moral burden immigrants from the Indian subcontinent place upon themselves.
Sorting through files in my parent’s office after they’d moved into assisted living, I found an old newspaper clipping–an editorial Mom had written. I paused at her bio: activist, teacher, homemaker. The description evoked a woman with defined lines, neat and contained.
I was sitting with my husband outside an ice cream shop on the east side of Cincinnati, watching our son caper around a park with his buddies from Shakespeare Camp, when my husband observed, “I don’t feel white here.”
My husband is white. Half white. He is also half Chinese.
Meditation creates the space, writing fills the void. I’m called to both.
For twenty years, my daily sitting meditation practice has nourished me. It’s essential, like oxygen keeping me sane and, hopefully, kinder and more compassionate.
A book of poetry, more than a book in any other genre, has the unique power to switch from topic to topic, spanning continents and eons if the writer wishes, to capture a wide array of experiences. Skin Music, by Dennis Hinrichsen, does this well.
How to chart the landscape of desire? A pencil is a good start, a draft, a poem. But soon you’ll be dipping a pen in blood, your own blood, and the blood of your ancestors and your enemies. You’ll have crossed the border and entered the landscape. You’ll need something stronger than poems. You will need to make spells.
The year my mother died, I claimed a desk for myself in the family room. I placed my notebook and the books that were my touchstones at the time on the desk. I bought a beautiful fountain pen from pennies saved, ink made from roses.
Reviewer—Joyce Peseroff ASK ANYONE by Ruth Lepson, Pressed Wafer, 2016, 68pp., $12.50 Managing Editor’s Note: Some reviews of poetry collections are not only insightful, but a pleasure to read. Reviewing poetry is a challenging task, given the art form’s sometimes slippery use of language and the subjective quality of interpretation. Peseroff manages it beautifully.… Read more »
he powerful grassroots movement, #BlackLivesMatter, is sometimes countered with the slogan “all lives matter.” Well, of course they do. That’s the point of #BlackLivesMatter—to demand we acknowledge the importance of lives, Black lives, too often treated as if they mattered not at all, with tragic results.
Canadian author Kelly Oxford’s tweet from the evening of October 7 was brave. Her call to women, “tweet me your first assaults,” was significant. It was the right tweet at the right time. By the next evening, Oxford was receiving up to fifty responses per minute. Millions of stories have since been shared at #notokay, and many of these tweets represent the first time someone has shared her story. Many note that, like me, they kept quiet for so long because of shame. It took me fourteen years.
Wendy Mnookin’s fifth collection, Dinner with Emerson, is organized according to the four seasons. It begins with spring and runs through the year, followed by a fifth section, “Another Spring,” that features poems in a season that stretch beyond “Winter.” There is a sense of the ongoing about these poems, that life marches on, that we learn to turn the page, and that despite whatever we are slogging through, there will be another season.
You know a writer with mental illness, even if you don’t realize it or know that person by name. Maybe the writer is a friend, or someone in your critique group, or someone you met at a writer’s convention. Maybe it’s someone you are working with on a publication.
This past May, I drove Professor Gwendolyn Rosemond home after she attended one of the bi-annual artist retreats I co-direct with my husband—we traveled along scenic route 127, from Gloucester at the tip of Cape Ann in Massachusetts, to Salem which is further South, at the Northshore’s midpoint. We drove for about forty five minutes and in that span we solved both the adjunct problem and the diversity problem at universities. Well, we solved a key portion of these problems. “Grow your own!” Gwen said. And, she was absolutely right.
Last spring’s release of Martha Collins’s Admit One: An American Scrapbook, is the third in a series that includes the volumes Blue Front and White Papers. The trilogy as a whole wrestles with race and racism in America from the perspective of a white woman and the history of family and country that precedes and includes her. In her work overall, Collins goes past the paralyzing silence of white guilt and into the active language of implication.
I was honored to interview the internationally known photographer, Lou Jones. Lou also quietly serves on many boards to further photography and mentors multiple young photographers. He is an artist who gives back, in his art and in his service.
Solstice editor-in-chief, Lee Hope, was interviewed on The Jordan Rich Show about her novel, Horsefever. You can hear the full interview here. Also, Horsefever has been listed as the Small Press Distribution #2 fiction bestseller in Jan/Feb. Due out on March 16th, you can order Horsefever today at Amazon and Barnes & Noble! LIKE: https://www.facebook.com/Lee-Hope-507320366097313/ • MORE INFO: leehopeauthor.com
Due out on March 16th, you can order Horsefever today at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Like Lee Hope on Facebook. • MORE INFO: leehopeauthor.com Who Sinks? Who Rises Up Again? An Interview with Lee Hope (originally published at Fiction Writers Review) I have been an admirer of Lee Hope’s fiction for many years. Her widely published short stories are… Read more »
The reading period for our Annual Literary Contest opens this Saturday (Feb 20th), and we couldn’t be more excited about this year’s judges! Richard Blanco will be the judge for the Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry, Celeste Ng will be the judge for our Fiction Prize, and Michael Steinberg will be the judge for our… Read more »
Skin Music by Dennis Hinrichsen Winner of the 2014 Michael Weaver Poetry Prize Southern Indiana Review Press, 2015 74 pp., $14.95 One of the great pleasures of Dennis Hinrichsen’s award winning poetry collection, Skin Music, is watching the poet consider large questions and concepts while paying careful attention to the specific details of… Read more »
Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the… Read more »
Ruth Lepson is poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music. She is the author of the poetry volumes I Went Looking for You (BlazeVOX, 2009), Morphology with photographer Rusty Crump (BlazeVOX, 2008), Dreaming in Color (Alice James Books, 1980), and editor of Poetry from Sojourner: A Feminist Anthology (University of Illinois Press, 2004). A… Read more »
Irene Koronas is a multi-media artist, painter, poet and editor of Wilderness House Literary Review. She is the author of three volumes of poetry, self portrait drawn from many (Ibbettson Street Press, 2007), Pentakomo Cyprus (Cervena Barva Press, 2009), turtle grass (Muddy River Books, 2014) and many chapbooks. Her visual art has been shown in… Read more »
Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, librettist, and a faculty member at California Institute of the Arts MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of three volumes of poetry, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014), The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), Fear, Some (Red Hen Press, 2006) and several chapbooks. He was interviewed by Danielle… Read more »
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The opinions voiced by the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the board or editors of this magazine.