Literary fiction is a term used to define literature that supposedly adds something to our lives. More than just reading a book, we are meant to have some kind of reading experience. It is literature that does not fit into a singular genre and something that breaks the boundaries of generic prose. But what an Earth does that really mean? And does it honestly matter?
“ut pictura poesis, “as is painting so is poetry.” —Horace
In the umbilical connection that is the poet and the artist, I wonder if each would agree, that one is as essential as the other. We can romanticize this connection by a million threads, and still end up naked. There are endless examples of such relationships in history. With love and passion at its core, it is a magick that can seldom be ignored.
Over the past few months, we have been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of submissions we have received for our Inaugural Writing Awards, Overture to Memory, especially from teen writers and those who are new and emerging writers. The level of skill and raw talent that permeates the dozens upon dozens of poems, short stories, and creative nonfiction pieces we have read and discussed cannot go unsaid. We are pleased that so many people have called upon themselves to explore what it means to remember. The impact of memory on reality, on our perception of self, on the existence of a shared or singular "truth," and how we navigate life and our place within the world are carefully and exquisitely explored in these wonderfully stark, poignant, and compelling pieces.
The other day, while volunteering at my local library, I was gifted with a tiny, magnetic ladybug page-clip. Its cuteness complimented the free book I was also given earlier that day—the storybook rendition of The Yellow Submarine by the Beatles. Pretty cool, no? Groovy artwork with an emphasis on eternal youth. When I returned to my car at the end of my shift, I started to think of a bunch of things that, oddly, compliment one another. Like grilled cheese sandwiches with habanero strawberry jam (thank you, Massachusetts), or myself and clothes shopping. Why not any combination? Why not analyze what’s at hand—or what might be—in any moment?
Editor-In-Chief Kanika Lawton spoke with Melissa Atkinson Mercer recently about her newest poetry collection, Knock (Half Mystic Press, 2018), the use of visceral, disturbing imagery, tongues as agency and voice, and who is allowed such agency and autonomy.
Kanika also reviewed Knock, a breathless, uncomfortable, and important collection of poems on depression, womanhood, voices, and darkness, churning and pulsing with both pain and angry, unflinching hope.
November 20th, 2017 wasn’t just a day of victory; it was a promise slowly materializing: no Filipino shall ever have to suffer in silence.
This is an ambitious idea—advocacy has always been a limbless vessel of ambition and opportunity—but there are champions willing to serve as legs to forward and arms to spread the cause. The mental health community, after all, is about helping each other understand the need to find strength from within.
I first became aware of Alex Poppe’s searingly honest, painful, and yet, wryly humorous voice when I was reading fiction submissions for our fifth issue, Sanctum. “Refugees Got Talent,” a short story that follows Trahzia, a teenage girl residing in the Arbat Refugee Camp, tells of her hopes of a better life, of travelling through Europe like her father promised, while the boy she loves (who never loved her back) takes her virginity from behind a marketplace. Poppe’s prose is beautifully descriptive and harsh, expertly recoiling a refugee girl’s longings for love and happiness, as well as physical and emotional regret and pain. It was uncomfortable to read, and though “Refugees Got Talent” is a relatively short story, it stuck with me for many weeks after.
Paris was a beautiful, physical place when I visited, even when it was raining. When I took pictures, they were in technicolor. The Eiffel Tower was gold at night, luminous. In the mornings, we ate madeleines with butter and jam, and took the subway to Notre Dame or the Galeries Lafayette or wherever we wanted to go in France, just so long as we were going somewhere. We were in our own spectacular film: a sequence of pretty hues and dissolving transitions. It was stunning, surreal.
Founding Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director Kanika Lawton was honoured to speak to Topaz Winters again about her latest film SUPERNOVA, the complexities of filmmaking, loneliness, the importance of blue, and the power of softness.
Before Kanika sat down with Topaz, she reviewed SUPERNOVA, a short, yet powerful, film on navigating solitude, the intricacies of being, and reaching beyond the self towards something greater.
2017 was a difficult year for many of us. Our hearts ached with the weight and pain of the world, and our spirits slowly chipped away. However, I feel safe in saying that, as always, art has a way of healing our tired souls, of soothing our worried minds, and ever-so-gently taking us to new worlds full of light, love, exploration, and renewed hope. Art is medicine for the soul, a means of survival and resistance against a world that frequently wants to silence us.