In this issue, I’m thrilled to share the work of four extraordinary writers with new books — Jared Daniel Fagen, Leora Fridman, Jay Gao, and No’u Revilla. I asked each author the same five questions and I am deeply grateful for and inspired by their responses.
As I sat with their insights, the threads of connection between and among these writers emerged in my own mind — a poetics of collectivity, a deep intelligence that can make itself known through our interdependence.
“Aloha is both a practice and intelligence,” No’u writes, bringing into the space not only the protective and sacred work of ancestors but the ongoing care and carrying we, in the present, do. Jared’s notion of poetry and “ceremony” sits alongside, bringing to mind dailiness and communal ritual. “The language I thought I owned seemed borrowed, stolen, nostalgic. Everything I borrow in the act of writing a poem I have to give back, in some way, after it is written,” Jay says, and this reciprocity can also be recognized as being necessary to one’s own self, as he continues, “everything I write comes with a promise of myself towards the future. A promise of a horizon of not just more writing, but of different writing. In the wake of myself.”
These generative, generous modes of knowing and being are what enliven and activate language. Leora describes the form of her essays as “citational, hybrid, personal, critical, lyric at times” which allowed her “a kind of porous thinking that I could believe in. That made me believe I could believe. That made me believe in writing and reading, again.”
I find lightness and inspiration in the varied and rich entanglements that these writers invoke. They speak, I think, to the porousness of borders — of nation, of language, of body, of time.
— Mary-Kim Arnold