To accompany the poems that appear by the five Indigenous writers in the preceding pages, Wendy Call talked with them to discuss their emancipatory linguistic activism.
“I search for memory’s dreadful black thread / something to mend this loss / How can I unravel this silence? / How can I mark time without stumbling into lava?,” from [Yesterday] by Mikeas Sánchez (trans. Wendy Call)
The following essay was originally delivered as a talk for a virtual poetry workshop for the Department of Race & Resistance Speaker Series at San Francisco State University in 2022.
“would those who used / to be weather / have a word for / the weight of fall / sky setting in may?,” from “Before the Next Apocalypse,” by Abigail Chabitnoy
“decode these markings / on this annihilated land / where he broke her with his hands,” from “i want you to help us talk,” by Chelsea T. Hicks
“Having spoken her dream, the grandmother took some fire in her mouth / And with her tongue breathed hot flame into the human heart / So that memory of the old struggles for life might never be forgotten,” from “Grandmother in the Dream,” by Fredy Chikangana (trans. Daniel Simon)
The Story of Shit
“Behind the house, or deche yoo as we say in Zapotec, we kids and animals gathered,” from the author’s note
My Friends, They Did This, Too
Franco’s legacy falls across a celebration of two friends’ birthdays but fails to stifle the hard-earned, uncontainable, savored joy.
Quechua writer and Yanakuna poet Fredy Chikangana explores how the Yanakuna language “contributes seeds to the construction of a world with values and a brotherhood that allow us to safeguard the planet.”
After a decade of talking to strangers while traveling, J. R. Patterson explores why strangers make some of the best conversation partners.
“The judge and lawyers argued, the judge became annoyed, the case was adjourned. Not a single case was brought by a female lawyer. No one in the courtroom was female except me.”
The Right to Be a Selfish Woman: A Conversation with Rita Chang-Eppig
An interview with Rita Chang-Eppig, whose debut novel, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea, tells the story of a woman who fights to survive and the cost that survival demands.
Poetry’s Syncretic Mishmosh: A Conversation with Robert Pinsky
A conversation with poet Robert Pinsky, wherein he talks about important “moments” in both his personal life and his seminal career as a poet, teacher, accomplished saxophone player, celebrator and publisher of Americans’ favorite poems.