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Deep in a forest in the Northernmost part of Vietnam, in a Vietcong reeducation camp, my father watched to see if the chili peppers would spin in the clear water. If the peppers were still, then the water was not poisonous. Father said the best way to get water was to cut a bamboo tree or a banana tree with a knife. The water in the heart is pure.     Mother When I hug my mother, she feels so fragile as if she would fall apart like petals in my arms, but I know she is much stronger than I am - silk that keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The soft and gentle thread of worms, tougher than metal.     Praying at [...]

Phantasmagoric Bed Time Story: Otherworldly Shifts Bring Us Back Home In Elizabeth Cantwell’s debut poetry collection, Nights I Let the Tiger Get You (Black Lawrence Press, 2014), we traverse dangers across a tangible universe and seek respite in dream-like interludes; both planes of existence feel familiar. A child pets a fawn. Then a body is pulled out of a bottle drifting in the ocean. Cantwell cannot possibly warn us about all the dangers this universe contains and yet she is continually attempting to warn us. As William Blake wrote his eighteenth century poem, “The Tyger,” What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? so Cantwell attempts to draw her readers through dichotomous worlds. Blake questions, how can the same being that made the lamb create the tiger? Cantwell [...]

I asked Bay Area slam poet B Deep to share some of his amazing spoken-word pieces with us in the Infoxicated Corner. Thrilled to be including some work by STAGE poets as well as all the PAGE poets we've been blessed to host. Enjoy these three performances, below! Something About Dragging Feet Instead of Wonderland: The Looking Glass Ends With Me Lazy River   Brennan/ ‘B Deep’ DeFrisco likes words and the way they move. He is an organizer and performer at the Berkeley Poetry Slam and will represent them in the upcoming 2015 National Poetry Slam. He is co-founder of Lucky Bastard Press and author of Highku: 4 & 20 Poems About Marijuana. His work can be found or is forthcoming in TheThe Poetry’s Infoxicated Corner, Drunk Monkeys, Hermeneutic [...]

I asked poet and tattoo artist Ruth Awad to share some of her favorite pieces she's done with us in our most Infoxicated of internet Corners. The results are so fabulous. Check out these samples of her tattoo work, as well as a poem by her that she says is her current favorite! I couldn't be happier to feature her here. Enjoy!         Lessons in Grief If you’re gone I mean really gone, then whose voice is that veining through the shower drain – no, it's only water, but here I am, half wet and stung with the mercy of living where your robe trailed like a thought across the kitchen floor and my hands are filling with dirt. Or is it water? Tell me a well [...]

Amorak Huey


Jen Stein

The Size of Things, Decreasing Scale

Sara Biggs Chaney

Letter from the Back Porch

All The Rage: The Fashion in Our Fury is Little More than a Refusal to Engage by Saba Razvi features a gallery on its website called “The Year of Outrage,” in which it showcases a breakdown of the trending topic of outrage for each day of the year 2014. Yes, that’s right – each day. There are no date-gaps in the gallery, and it is easy to see that on every single day of the year, someone was outraged about something and took to the Internet to make that rage known by way of action. With so much impeccable anger, one might think that some significant progress may have been made on at least one of those 365 fronts, that beyond a trending melodrama of expression, some change or [...]

The World Is at Stake: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Internet Activism, and Reverberations in the Hyperbolic Chamber by Saumya Arya Haas “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” (Translation: "Don't let the bastards grind you down.”) - Bad Latin / necessary advice from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale   As a long-time Science Fiction/Fantasy (SF/F) fan, I’ve been following the controversy over this year’s Hugo Awards. Two activist groups calling themselves the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies feel that, in recent years, this prestigious SF/F award has wrongly honored more “literary” books, often by women and minority writers, which feature liberal social themes over “traditional” writers, styles, and themes. They organized a response. According to Slate: As usual, the [Hugo Award] finalists were determined by ballot; any member of the 2014, 2015, or 2016 WorldCons (that [...]

The impulse to resist misogynistic trends in contemporary literature can lead us to draw inappropriate lines in the sand. An interview, for example, can certainly serve as a soapbox for an interviewee, and it can offer a neutral or even positive space for controversial or offensive behavior. But some critics have suggested an us-versus-them situation, in which the act of offering an opponent the opportunity to speak is a strategic mistake. How much attention is paid to a writer, rather than who is persuaded by what he or his critics have to say, seems the measure of success.

As angry as I get about the fact that the London Review of Books and The Paris Review scarcely review or publish Black women’s work, I’m also dealing with the reality that Black and Brown children are being murdered by police on a regular basis. So what do I do? The truth is that since I have to go out in the street yelling that my very life matters, I guess it stands to reason I’ll have to insist that my literature matters. . . . Clearly, all of this country’s problems will not be solved because there are children of color in books, but could there be some connection between the dehumanization of Black and Brown people and our invisibility in literature?

Lately I’ve been trying to recognize how much energy I waste by engaging with causes and threads that are confined to an already-convinced population or are dominated by difficult participants who would gladly derail the proceedings in order to shut down the message. It can be hard to resist a middle finger to misogynists, racists, and other hateful people, absolutely, but my bet is they would love for us to expend our energy on minutiae.

In my house, we do not conflate disagreement with disrespect.

Alisa Golden

Better than Television, Will's White Hen

We are the sum of our choices in a boxing gym. Open your sternum, autopsy style.

Jeffrey Pethybridge’s debut collection Striven, the Bright Treatise (Noemi 2013) seeks, quixotically, in Sisyphean adamance, to confront an impossible subject: the suicide of Pethybridge’s brother in 2007. Striven is mourning: a ritual toward acceptance—a stay against the effacement of history.