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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.

Brash Ice. Djelloul Marbrook. Leaky Boot Press, 2014. 104 pages, ISBN: 978-1909849150 The boundaries of an identity become less distinct the closer they’re analyzed. It’s an existential nuance encountered by everyone from scientists defining an atom to Zen students contemplating a koan. Djelloul Marbrook’s latest collection, Brash Ice, explores that vagueness and various tangential elements such as memory, history and the way the nature of transcendence alters with the self as it encounters the harsher elements of life. The opening poem begins So this business of being you is about handling plutonium. (“handling plutonium”) The self is radioactive, dangerous to handle. It is not easy, in spite of the ubiquitous exhortations, to simply “be yourself.” There is much to fear. But it must be faced full on if to be [...]

Every so often, I take these hour-long walks. I drift for miles at a time. It gives me a chance to look out at Los Angeles in a way I would never have done on the bus. One thing I’ve learned about this town is that it’s very segregated.

the flutter of wings. Some years,

you know, the honey just doesn't
come through—some years, the hive

can drink itself thin by March.

If man should raise hands to breach the throat of his
father, feed him garlic. Who else but an imp should
eat it? It’s reaper-cruel. Dog food. The pagan’s
stinking rose. Hemlock in the belly, vipers in the

As we discover in The Gorgeous Nothings (New Directions, 2013), an entirely new breed of coffee table book, the artistic genius of Emily Dickinson is hardly debatable and absolutely singular. This huge, breathtaking book features high-resolution photos of various scraps of paper written on by Dickinson late in her life. This selection of what scholars have taken to calling Dickinson’s “Radical Scatters”—writings on paper without a discernible literary genre—is equal parts poetry and visual art, and, in a very important sense, neither: a hybridity that challenges the ways we have approached and thought about Dickinson’s work since it first found its way to our eyes.

The first section limns the secure life Holmes inhabited before her husband’s affair, opening with "Drawn Into Circles," a poem about the way her dogs rearrange clean towels in their beds into round nests. The poem gradually broadens its focus, comprising, by the end, a metaphysical reverie about cycles of human experience juxtaposed against unbending cultural habits. The author varies stanza shapes to reinforce her themes. Three stanzas curve, but one is blockish—the one which deals with the strict lines our culture has imposed at all stages of life, from babies’ cribs to coffins.

Oozing. Acrylic, ink on white paper, 18 x 24” 2014.   Sally Deskins is an artist and writer who examines womanhood, motherhood, and the body in her work and others. She’s exhibited in galleries nationally and published her art and writing internationally. She is founding editor of Les Femmes Folles, and illustrated Intimates and Fools (poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman, Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014). Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of the full-length poetry collections American Galactic (Martian Lit, 2014), Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), and Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012). Her dime novel is The Bottle Opener (Red Dashboard, 2014). She is also the author of two letterpress books, nine chapbooks, and the collaborative [...]

A lifetime ago, I sat with some dear friends in their apartment discussing literature, music, and art as we drank wine. We gathered like this as often as we could. A small group of poets, novelists, painters, and musicians; we composed our own little salon. Elizabeth Bishop was the topic of conversation that night, and we grabbed her collected poems off the shelf. We passed it around for each person to take their turn reciting the poem “One Art” out loud. It was a marvelous time. Each brought their own voice, their own character to the poem and then uttered it forth. It was a night of joy connected through art but also a deepening insight into the subtlety of the poem itself. “One Art” is not easy to recite [...]