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Interviews

10 Questions for Noor ('Ditee) Jaber

- By Franchesca Viaud

You approach and I offer
another girl's name. Curtains, velvet
and crushed, mostly closed. 

See it this way: coyote's tooth dangling
coy from my locs.
You approach (my hair draping, obscuring my face)
and it falls

Tonight, like disco lights, beckons my self
to myself. There's just enough light
for me.
—from "Of Starshine and Clay," Volume 64, Issue 4 (Winter 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote a lot of poetry in high school to reckon with my enormous, overwhelming feelings. I don’t remember much from that period of my life but I remember writing a lot. The first poem I remember pouring out of me was a slam poem I wrote in college. It was...


Interviews

10 Questions for Catherine LaFleur

- By Franchesca Viaud

Passing through the yard
Choked with thirsty grass,
You might see the newest
Adults huddled in tight circles. 

Never alone.

The beast mother is
All they know. 
—from "Mother of Beasts," Volume 64, Issue 4 (Winter 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Good Advice About Bears came as a result of a guided meditation memory exercise. My mentors, Kathie Klarreich (Exchange for Change), Dr Wendy Hinshaw, and Leslie Neal (ArtSpring), encouraged me to explore fleshing this out into a written story. Although I am an avid reader, never did I think to tell my own stories. Good Advice is the humorous account of a camping trip gone wrong and tells you why it's...


Interviews

10 Questions for Faylita Hicks

- By Franchesca Viaud

In a quiet hall, beneath a church in Chicago's West Side, too many of us stand in a circle and wait for introductions. Some with our headphones on, our fingers crossed. Others with our eyes on the trays of food. The radio on my hip burrs. Pitches. Hums. Condenses—until I can hear clearly an enunciated whisper clapping through.

Hello. My name is—, and I want to thank you all for being brave enough to be with us today. Brave—as in willing to be seen in the sanctified light some have been burdened with this morning. To be noticed for what we are—are all previously incarcerated or detained. We hope that you'll share, but if not—the walls sway or the people have been swaying or the room is turning counter-clockwise and we are all...


Interviews

10 Questions for Stefanie Kirby

- By Franchesca Viaud

Equal parts energy and mass, bodies are held
together by light. You learn how light
pollutes, dependent on its ability to scatter.
The womb gets lighter with every daughter
you have and every daughter you don't have.
Those daughters weigh stones hand over
fist before building them into your womb
like a ballast or fallen wall.
—from "I Ask My Daughter to Consider Her Body," Volume 64, Issue 4 (Winter 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I started as a storyteller. Before I could write any words myself, I dictated a story I titled Der Bergsteiger (The Mountain Climber) to my mom, who added all of the words beneath my illustrations. That book is still at my...


Interviews

10 Questions for Deesha Philyaw

- By Franchesca Viaud

The man who is about to ask you to marry him grabs the check from the little tin tray and slides the three fortune cookies toward you.
"All yours," he says.
     You grin and he grins back. Three years together, and you have your rituals, your routines. When you have pizza, he eats the crusts you leave behind; when you have Chinese, you claim the fortune cookies he thinks are silly. 
     You crack open the first cookie and read the fortune inside. It says, A decade from now, the man sitting across from you is going to choke you. 
     You squint at the tiny piece of paper and read it again. Then you glance up at the man sitting across from you, the man you plan to spend the rest of your...


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