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When, Where, And How to Belong in a Portrait: Big Questions in Countée Cullen’s Harlem Renaissance

- By Shanta Lee

Review of Countée Cullen’s Harlem Renaissance by Kevin A. Brown. Forthcoming in 2024 from Parlor Press.

Will our life’s work be considered a lead melody or an accompanying harmony in the symphony of history? Does it matter if one plays first or fourth chair in the orchestra if we are talking about a piece that forever changed modern music? Or perhaps it does not matter how large or small of a role one played as long as one was in the room, because that symphony was situated within a period that created a lasting legacy for music. This metaphor applies to some of the persistent questions posed by Kevin A. Brown in Countée Cullen’s Harlem Renaissance. By the author’s own admission, this collection is not “. . . an...


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...


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...

After Us

Poisoned Land (Earth Primer #10)

- By Giacomo Sartori

I had grown accustomed to earthy alpine soils, with their scent of moss and sap. Then, without warning, I suddenly found myself dealing with the soils of a valley lined with the disciplined rows of apple orchards covering every wedge of the wavy hillsides, even the steepest slices, as far as the eye could see. The growers evidently had zero tolerance for sloping or uneven terrain: before lining up their rows of dwarf trees, they’d shave down the slopes with heavy machinery, leaving them perfectly flat. They clearly wanted them to keep up with the times, to fit in with the geometrically shaped concrete warehouses used for sorting and conserving the produce, and with the futuristic malls of the more flourishing cities.

With such measures, they managed to ravage forever lands...

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