Essay

In Memoriam: Tom Raworth, by Martin Corless-Smith

I knew Tom for about 20 years. Or ten minutes.  It’s odd to say knew, instead of know. I’ll say know. He was as open and opaque when I first met him at a reading in DC as when I last saw him at his flat in Hove. Like a pond of fish—an elegant electric-fast consciousness that withdrew if you delved too deep. It was as if he was saying, I’m right here, it’s all right here. What you get is what you see.

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Piper Daniels, “Sirens”

An exceptional essay on self-harm and suicide, which we’re publishing in time for Christmas 2016. “If human life is an oath, then suicide for me was like an oath recited backwards, a protest against the physical body that gave entrance to that first strange and violent ghost and all that followed,” writes Piper Daniels. “This is a call to the damaged, the suicidal, and the mentally ill who feel as though they are drowning in darkness. I see you. I see your beauty.”

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M. NourbeSe Philip on the 2016 US Election

Post election essay by M. NourbeSe Philip: “Trump has won the hearts and minds of the American public that is the raw underbelly of a bloated, imperialist state. He has given new meaning to the expression: Anybody can become president of the United States—anybody as in serial harasser and predator of women; as in known racist supported by the KKK; as in a shady dealer, snake oil salesman; as in confirmed liar. Anybody! But a competent, experienced, intelligent woman.”

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Jan Clausen, Election Journal

Post-election essay by Jan Clausen: “It’s not that she didn’t win. Regardless of what you think about the dangers of a Clinton presidency, there’s this: how is it possible that I live in a country where so many millions of people voted for that man?

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Essay by Katrina Otuonye: “Our Waning Sense of Goodwill”

Katrina Otuonye on the US Election: “Will you speak up and protect a transgender person from harm? Will you walk Muslim students to their cars, the same way you would with a woman walking at night? Will you stand up for Latino kids who are having ‘build that wall’ chanted in their faces? Will you escort women into Planned Parenthood? Will you wait with me the next time I’m stopped by the police? Will you speak up?”

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Essay by Anne Gorrick: Taking Text Outside = Interstitial Acts

“Let’s think a bit about textual art that is ephemeral, outside, fugitive; text that isn’t carved into a building or a street or a stone or a wall. Let’s note the diminutive textual adventure. The infinitesimal moment. I want to think about earth texts beyond shelter. Going outside brings the death in a little, releases the work into the air. Poem as prayer flag. Poem as act against the immaculate. Text as emphatic and intimate protest.”

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