Featured Title & Author
Starlight & Error
How do we save what’s coming? The love between two people, cut through by error and time, often marks the path for those who follow. In Starlight & Error, the legacies of love between aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, children and their children’s children is re-told through the lens of imagined memory. In the difficult landscape of the present, is black love revolutionary? Are faith and forgiveness? Here, the history of love—fraught with fear and light, war and hunger, distance and gravity—is always asking: how do we transcend the mistakes of those who made us? Can music save us? Can the stars?
Remica Bingham-Risher, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is an alumna of Old Dominion University and Bennington College. She is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet. Among other journals, her work has been published in The Writer’s Chronicle, New Letters, Callaloo and Essence. She is the author of Conversion (Lotus, 2006) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013) shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Award and Starlight & Error (Diode Editions, 2017) winner of the Diode Editions Book Award. She is the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives at Old Dominion University and resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children.
To Be Soft
from Diode Poetry Journal vol. 13.2
My grandmother’s hands were like figs / dried in a Mississippi summer. Her scars read like love notes: / calluses born in cotton fields, mason jar lid imprints / on her palms, freckled pricks from needles left / in purses, burns near her right wrist. / She was slow with chicken grease. // Sometimes she’d lather dishes and scrub the same cup / until its shine rivaled finery seen / in the Sears catalogs she loved to keep.
Chavonn Williams Shen
Chavonn Williams Shen was a winner of the Still I Rise grant, a first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction Contest and a Best of the Net Award finalist. She was also a Pushcart Prize nominee, a winner of the Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose through the Loft Literary Center, and a fellow through the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. A Tin House and VONA workshop alum, her poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in: Yemassee, the Los Angeles Review, Permafrost Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere.
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