What Our Editors Read This Week (6/10)

An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis by James Baldin in The New York Review

The enormous revolution in black consciousness which has occurred in your generation, my dear sister, means the beginning or the end of America. Some of us, white and black, know how great a price has already been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation. If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name.

We Need A Decolonized, Not A “Diverse”, Education by Zoé Samudzi in Harlot

The inclusion of marginalized identities and experiences without decentering dominant narratives is an understanding of diversity that leaves oppressive structures intact, and in fact, insulates them from criticism.

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What Our Editors Read This Week (6/3)

An Open Letter To The Writers Speaking Out Against Trump by Daniel José Older in Electric Lit

Because this line, “American history, despite periods of nativism and bigotry, has from the first been a grand experiment in bringing people of different backgrounds together, not pitting them against one another,” from the Writers Against Trump statement is not only empirically false, it’s a continuation of the ongoing legacy of sanitized lies America has shoved down its own throat since its creation;

Let’s Talk: What is Easy and What is True? in Gay YA by Adriana L

It’s not necessarily a failure of imagination on the part of authors, but on the part of readers and reviewers. What is popular, what is recommended ten thousand times over, is just the tip of the iceberg. We can’t see queer rep as a quota to be met with one best-selling book here and there, but we must keep searching for the queer YA that bridges the gap between these two extremes, that occupies that middle ground of fluctuating emotions that so many experience on a daily basis. We cannot perpetuate the idea that a queer character’s validity boils down to whether their identity is a source of suffering or a source of adversity that can be easily overcome.

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Fem Editors Talk Back: The White Women of Lit

Q2: How do we combat the white, femaleness of most feminist lit spaces?

AUTUMN [editor in chief]: Honestly, I’m beginning to just ignore spaces that are dominated by these voices. Do I think it’s a concern? Absolutely. But I don’t really find myself getting upset about it because those lit spaces are just following in the same pattern that society has found itself in for generations. If anything, it’s expected. Maybe it’s the comfort thing again, which doesn’t make it right, but it helps us better understand why there is such a draw for this kind of content and how to break it up.

SUSANNAH [fiction]: It’s very frustrating. Like, most submissions I get are from white female MFAers. And the subject matter and writing style, etc., so frequently falls into these patterns and assumptions and it’s so very recognizable. Obviously there are exceptions, but just speaking to the trend.

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Like, most submissions I get are from white female MFAers. And the subject matter and writing style, etc., so frequently falls into these patterns and assumptions and it’s so very recognizable. (Susannah)

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Fem Editors Talk Back: Literature as Resistance

Q1: How is literature a means of resistance?

AMY [poetry]: This takes me back to the medieval mystics. Testimony to experience is a means of resistance. Storytelling and song and poetry that come from people who are being silenced is resistance. Amplifying the words of those who are erased and elided from popular imagination, from political influence, and from public discourse is resistance.

JASMINE [spoken word]: My people were never supposed to know how to read or write. From the moment we were dragged to this continent, illiteracy has been used as a tool to keep us oppressed mentally, socially, economically, and many other ways.

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But moving a community requires language – every revolution uses graffiti and pamphlets and code words and chants and songs and stories. (Amy)

MAI [social media]: To me, writing is a tool to share the unheard stories of my family and my people. Writing the stories of my family and my people in English is sort of my way of using the English language, once and still a tool of colonization, instead as a tool of decolonization.

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