First go read everything here.
This is gonna be messy.
First thing, I have been a guest editor for a special issue. In 2016 one of my most beloved humans Milcah Halili and I were chosen to guest edit for the Citron Review. Milcah and I blind read and chose a piece by Ariel Gore who is a powerhouse of a writer. At the time, I was elated. I hadn’t ever (or since) done that sort of thing and found that I loved the process of selecting a piece to feature from my gut.
It was hard.
I admit, I had some discomfort. I realized that in reading back issues that okay yes Queers but where were they before?
This is where I find myself now.
I submitted to the Trans/GNC issue of Poetry Magazine. I got nice rejection.
The thing I feel most conflicted about is this mess of feelings.
Given that in most of my literary career I have been she, because I rarely press pronouns issues for myself, I am relieved I was rejected.
At the same time, I feel like a lot of my recent work reflects my own fluidity in the context of gender. I purposefully tend to mix my pronouns and associate phrases in that way because it is how I feel.
Some of the other feelings I have is a general kind of aversion to special issues. Too often, I feel like the special issue contributes to the idea of there being a scarcity of good work by X population. I don’t see a lot of literary journals asking the better questions. I feel like this is basic shit I’ve been talking about for years.
Ask WHY don’t the people I want to feature submit regularly? Is my back catalog full of whiteness? Cisness? Hetness? A lot of venerated poetry outlets, fuck up a lot. They publish transphobic, and other shitty shit and tend to double down and then maybe say, we support free speech blablabla and then have the audacity to wonder, why aren’t these X population folks submitting?
Maybe it is because I’m old and bitter but I feel like I just am not fuckin with these people anymore.
It has been a thousand fucking years and we are STILL having to say, look do some basic work and maybe you won’t have to do a special issue.
That said, I also do enjoy special issues. I enjoy it when magazines are deliberate in featuring voices and folks who are overlooked. BUT, BUT, too many places rely on their special issues and don’t do the follow up work.
It is work.
This morning I didn’t feel like I should comment because y’all know I like to stay in my fuckin lane.
And then I remembered I’m a poet who ids as genderfluid Femme and like…this has an impact on me.
Lately when folks talk to me about po biz fuckery, I STILL have the hardest time realizing hey, that is also my biz. And honestly?
Fuck po biz.
But also come on be better.
And also, am I out of my lane?
I’m the most obscure poet and I will likely not be anybody’s po biz darling so does it matter how I feel about it?
I mean, yes I have a book out but I also generally speaking don’t get published.
That’s a whole other thing.
This is my community. And I feel like an Fine Ass Old Auntie and like a baby potato holding a poem at a mic in a shitty cafe whispering my Saphhic unrequited love poetry.
I want to get to know more of my community and I feel like things like #BeyondSpecialIssue and the conversation help. So please go check out the hashtag on tweeter. Read the link above.
I’ll probably talk more about this once I decide to stop telling myself to not.