In the midst of the pressures of this past year, many of us have experienced what it is to be stripped down to essentials. Something which is forged is something which has been made stronger by fire.
Our issue this summer includes many examples of lives forged by experience. The characters in these poems and stories are shaped and revealed by what they endure. There is heat and pressure in Alex Pickens’ piece, Derecho, in which he immerses us in a sweltering Appalachian summer in the aftermath of a storm. Shamarang Silas’s poem “The Weight of Trains,” inquires, “What is worship if not the desire to offer yourself to the fire / & everything you have ever loved?” There is the more common forging of sustenance in the form of klesel, the pastry Melissa Spohr’s poem describes, baking alongside her never-known great grandmother. It is nourishment made by careful hands against the backdrop of unrest, and yet, “[s]he unspeaks / futures, wipes the war off her lips.” Additionally, the featured artists this issue all create through the medium of metalwork, shaping the hard surfaces of minerals, steel, and stone into objects that reveal new beauties through the processes they undergo."
This issue features selected pieces from our 2021 VanderMey Nonfiction Prize.
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Melissa Reeser Poulin
Derecho, Alex Pickens
Mysteries and Symbols of My Past, Mildred K. Barya
In the Hopes I can Spell out my Name, E. Kristin Anderson
As the Nurse Fills Out the Intake Form, the Ocean Speaks Your Name, Jamaica Baldwin
Funeral Anagrams, Aliki Barnstone
Shattered, Saddiq Dzukogi
My Mother’s Feet, Mary Jo Firth Gillet
Communion, Michael Garrigan
I too take shelter in the body, John Sibley Williams
The Weight of Dreams, Sharamang Silas
The Weight of Trains, Sharamang Silas
Weaving, Judith Sornberger
Karolyne Makes Klesel, Melissa Spohr
April 23, 2020 and Today is Shakespeare’s Birthday, Sunni Wilkinson
When it Comes, Sunni Wilkinson
Fred Wants to Know if I Believe in God, Margot Wizansky
Latchkey, Mary Kate Baker
Of the Eating Variety, Allison Field Bell
The art of Andrew Hayes
The art of Stacey Lee Webber
The art of Jill Baker Gower
The art of Sarah Perkins
The art of Noam Elyashiv
The art of Myra Mimlitsch-Gray
The art of Ben Dory
The art of John Rais
The art of Sophie Glenn
The art of Nils Hint