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10 Questions for Kayhan Irani

- By Franchesca Viaud

OPENING: A pair of sheer white curtains undulate as a breeze blows. They are suspended in air, floating on their own. Behind them, pitch black. 

We are here, at a criss-cross of story and memory, place and time.
We are here to witness and listen, to embrace and mend the fractures.
Why are you here?

(Four options appear in orange text. TO WITNESS; TO LISTEN; TO EMBRACE; TO MEND. Choose one to move ahead.)
—from "There Is a Portal," Volume 64, Issue 4 (Winter 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
One of the first full length plays I wrote was in the fourth grade, and it was a play about a suffragette who was organizing her friends...


(Not Quite) 10 Questions for Francesco Pascuzzi

- By Franchesca Viaud

There was no Google where you could type in "gay liberation" or "trans" and find all there was to know. Even the term "homosexual" wasn't used, and to take back a title from a pamphlet in FUORI!, it was an "unmentionable practice." The first time I'd heard about it publicly was in November of 1975 after the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini. News programs on TV made allusions rather than actual statements about his ascertained or presumed homosexuality. It was precisely on the occasion of the school assembly that was held after his murder that I first came out, supported by my firends in the collective.
—from "Coming Out," Volume 64, Issue 4 (Winter 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you translated...


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...


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...


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...

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