Literary Activism

Yatika Fields (Osage, Cherokee, Creek), White Buffalo Calf Woman March, oil on canvas, 2017, Hood Museum collection

Guest Editor - Allison Hedge Coke


Simon Ortiz

Tommy Orange

Dean Chavers

Emily Rapp Black

Nancy Morejón

Duane Niatum

Craig Santos Perez

Vickie Vértiz

Wang Ping

Susan Straight

Mikeas Sánchez

Lindantonella Solano Mendoza

Reyna Grande

Luis J. Rodriguez

Mohja Kahf

Barbara Jane Reyes

Miguel M. Morales

Jan Beatty

Ashanti Anderson

Sandra Alcosser

Brenda Hillman

Jake Skeets

  • A graphic that reads 30 Books on Literary Activism 1967=2019
    Literary Activism Readers’ Poll The Results As part of our cover feature focusing on literary activism in the past half-century, the editors of World Literat...
  • A photograph of Craig Santos Perez
       By Emily Vizzo
    Always remember: if you can write the ocean, we will never be silenced. – Craig Santos Perez, @craigsperez The momentum and voice of Craig Santos Perez flame with the opposite of silence....
  • A fabric collage of three Kaninekahake people wth a geometric representation of mesas and the sun in the background
       By Jake Skeets
    Kaninekahake – People of the Flint, fabric collage with acrylic on board, by Alex Jacobs, 2006, private collection, Santa Fe, NM. Image courtesy of Alex Jacobs  There is a field. We d...
  • A blurry close-up photo of bees
       By Brenda Hillman
    Illustration: JR Korpa / Unsplash Sometimes i’m called an “activist-poet,” maybe to make my aesthetically odd poetry seem more relevant or marketable to audiences other than...
  • A diptych featuring (on the left) of stairs descending in a forest with the text from "Where the Wild Things Are" printed on the faces and (on the right) a photograph of a gate to a garden space with the words "Let the beauty we love be what we do" printed on the gabling above the gate
       By Sandra Alcosser
    Central Park Zoo. Photos courtesy of Poets House Curating an exhibit for the Central Park Zoo, a poet and her collaborators create a celebration of our connection to the physical world, us...
  • A statue of Lady Godiva, nude astride a horse
    Photo: Michael Day / Flickr July 10, 1040: Lady Godiva, wife of the Earl of Mercia, rides naked on horseback to force her husband to lower taxes. July 10, 2015: Sandra Bland was p...
  • An abstract photograph of a car as seen through a rain streaked window
       By Jan Beatty
    Photo: Faungg / Flickr It’s hot in the loading bridge,  hot in the birth canal, it’s hot in the striped boy’s heart – we’re two women driving to D.C. for an abortion  in my beater sea-gree...
  • A man in a leather jacket carries a cross with a sign hanging around it that reads, "AIDS," while standing in front of a church
    Photo: Ronnie Brenes Anger is a tool, and like a hammer, it can build a house or tear one down. Sometimes you need it to do both. Marching down Michigan Avenue, the crowd blocked traf...
  • An illustration of two female figures, rendered in almost a Cubist style. A small male figure sits on the hand of the one of the figures.
    You Will Grow Together in Your Rage, illustration by Meg Lionel Murphy “You’re the One,” by Fanny (1971) Hell yeah, let this Brown Girl sing because I know what I kno...
  • A silhouetted figure holds up red flag with words in Arabic in white beneath a stylized moon
       By Mohja Kahf
    Saad Merie / DeviantArt to Rima Dali, with love Rima Dali in her red raincoat reaches downtown Damascus, silently steps into the intersection stands tall as traffic holds high a r...
  • A wall covered in an image dominated by a large human figure that appears to be looking at a recurring pattern of that same figure looking at an outline image of North and South America
    Collage Mural by Melanie Cervantes, Jesus Barraza, and Lianne Charlie. Photo by Maxime Faure. I’m just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding o...
  • A painting of a childlike figure, hands clasped in front of them in prayer while looking up. A pair of butterfly wings emerge from the back and the face is half-painted like a sugar skull
       By Reyna Grande
    Illustration: A Little Prayer for Those Who Migrate, by Jake Prendez All of us who love books, we are all in this fight together—as writers, as readers, as human beings. A qu...
  • Two indigenous people, dressed in ceremonial makeup and dress, stand facing one another, palms touching
    Miktlanziwatl (Lady of Death) © Cara Romero. All Rights Reserved. Abyayala Full of Questions América, I don’t invoke your name. When I bare my heart to the sword...
  • Three disheveled electronic tablets laying on a bed of soil. The third is turned face down
       By Mikeas Sánchez
    The Weapon is Sharing (This Machine Kills Fascists), by Cannupa Hanska Luger, ceramic, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist. The Zoque and Spanish originals of this poem appear in Mike...
  • A black and white photograph close-up of a child's face
       By Susan Straight
    Photo: Júbilo Haku / Flickr A series of troubling questions leads a child of immigrants to write a novel imagining a young Mexican mother deported, leaving her half-American, California-bo...
  • A close photograph of a protestor, whose red bandana reads Missing and Murdered
       By Wang Ping
    Photo: Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie after Ferlinghetti Pity the nation whose freedom melts faster than Arctic ice Whose justice defends sex predators & puts children in jail. Pity t...
  • A photograph of the top of a border wall and the blue sky above
       By Vickie Vértiz
    Photo: Centrifuga / Flickr after a photograph by Sally Mann and Detention Center Concentration Camps      
  • A close up photograph of the fronds of a Serianthes nelsonii sapling
    The endangered Serianthes nelsonii sapling on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. More than forty of the endangered tree species saplings were planted around Andersen by biologists from the U...
  • A close up photograph of the fronds of a Serianthes nelsonii sapling
    The endangered Serianthes nelsonii sapling on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. More than forty of the endangered tree species saplings were planted around Andersen by biologists from...
  • A diptych with a photo on the left of a statue of two men shaking hands with a sign that says, "Welcome to Skeedee" and, on the right, a photograph of indigenous headdress on the hood of a BMW
       By Duane Niatum
    Photos: “Skedee” and “Cherokee National Holiday — Tahlequah,” from In The Territories, by Shane Brown  American Indians should stop weeping over      the cruelty of the trail of tears and th...
  • A black and white photo of the sea, dark clouds looming overhead, with the horizon forming the only light between them
       By Nancy Morejón
    Photo: Lucas Poisson / Flickr​​ Leave. No two ways about it, they leave heading out toward night.                                                Desperate, a coastal patrol will look for t...
  • A black and white photograph of Nancy Eiesland
    Nancy Eiesland. Photo Courtesy of Candler School of Theology/Emory University A writer remembers Nancy Eiesland, the disabled, feminist theologian whose work became a beacon for her. ...
  • A sepia-toned photo of Alcatraz shrouded in fog
       By Dean Chavers
    PHoto: Michal Venera  As one of the original Alcatraz activists in 1969, Dr. Dean Chavers credits the occupation for much of the subsequent sea change in federal Indian policy. The followi...
  • A photograph of Tommy Orange
    Photo © Elena Seibert / Courtesy of Penguin Random House The following excerpt comes from an interview conducted with Cheyenne author Tommy Orange during the 2019 National Conference on Ra...
  • A mandala that geometrically radiates outwards from fire stylized in obsidian and bronze
       By Simon J. Ortiz
    Illustration: Dustin Mater March 1973   Forever. Always. Never-ending. Continuing. It was snowing in the Southwest, and the wind was cold and harsh the past few days. We...

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