A Space for Writers of the World
It is with great joy that we bring you Issue 5 of As/Us. We started the journal in August 2012 and to know that 3 years later As/Us has published 4 issues and the online version has been viewed in 150 countries around the world and counting is an exciting feat. We are still going strong and the audience/readership or As/Us continues to grow. Throughout our 4 previous issues you’ve seen us work on multiple themes with other awesome community workers and guest editors who represent various groups, organizations, and roles within the literary scene. As/Us has always looked for was to collaborate with individuals and organizations to better serve our mission of publishing women of color and other underrepresented writers.
This issue features wonderful and thought provoking prose including lyrical, narrative and academic explorations of identity, love, loss and place. In addition, you can read a modern story of Coyote, and personal essays that seamlessly weave in specific traditional Indigenous cultures and examine important contemporary issues and experiences. There is diversity in form and topic, but it is clear that a similar need to document and voice stories is a common thread connecting all of these works.
We were happy to team with Survival of the First Voices Festival, whose mission is to create educational and creative opportunities for Native American Youth, to hold the Dear Native Youth Poetry Contest. Over 50 poems were submitted to this poetry contest which had it’s own group of guest readers: Bryan Bearhart, Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu, Natanya Pulley, Sáanii Atsitty, and Marci Rendon. It was extremely difficult to narrow down the submissions to a small list of finalists as each of the readers described the poems and their strength in exhibiting experience, struggle, heart, and perseverance. Out of the finalists, winning submissions from Sierra Edd (college aged group) and Hailey Nez (middle/high school group) and honorable mentions Charli Fool Bear (college aged group) and Isabella Fillspipe (middle/high school group) were selected by Final Judge, Gyasi Ross. We thank everyone who contributed to making this first youth poetry writing contest a reality, especially all the talented Native youth poets who participated and shared their work with us.
Another collaboration with this issue involved Tanya Lukin-Linklater who served as our poetry guest editor. In her introduction to her selected poetry, she writes:
I was recently asked to write about distance for the third catalogue in a series of exhibitions called Far Away, So Close organized by Access Gallery in Vancouver, Canada. The timing of this request coincided with the request for me to edit this issue of
As Us. So while the theme for this issue of As Us is not distance, distance is present in my thinking about this issue.
For Access Gallery, I considered history and the distance created in our selves when we desire a forgetting or a remembering. I ask, “how do we reckon with history?” I wonder out loud about the intellectual traditions of Afognak (my ancestral home) that were interrupted by Russian colonization, our Alutiiq language and the knowledge held within it, and “the residues of self and home and place.”
It is from this place of interruption and ideas surrounding history that the writers in this issue write to. I feel the fragile palpability of history – its presence, its forms, its memories, its distances – in these poems. In love poems, in loss poems, family poems, in poems that tell history’s beingness today in our homes, on the streets, in our mythologies, and in our bodies. And how language is perhaps an antidote or part of a larger medicinal framework to ease (not suppress) the pain of history. History is present and aching.
Yet the women in this issue of As Us also write about futurity, they write themselves into the future as survivors and witnesses. Their language creates possibility, an incantation, making the future come into being in ways we cannot know.
I am honoured to read you, poets. You, women of color. You, Indigenous women. You, mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters, grandmothers. I am honoured.
Now, I extend my hand to you, reader. Read this world into possibility.
As co-founders and editors of As/Us we are excited to share some updates! As our vision for As/Us continues to grow and develop based on the needs of this ever powerful, developing, and talented community of writers of color, we found it necessary to expand the As/Us team. It is with extreme honor and pleasure we welcome several new staff members and editors to the journal. We’ve been joined by Lucy Burns as our Instructional Liaison, Patricia Killelea as our Review Editor, Leyen Trang as our Outreach and Social Media Coordinator, Elsa Valmidiano as our Fiction Editor, and Michael Wasson as our Poetry Editor. We look forward to embracing the talent and vision of our newly expanded team and cannot wait to see what’s next for As/Us.
Casandra and Tanaya
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