Part of the So to Speak mission is to recognize that no work is produced in a void apart from experience. That what we produce is inextricably connected to who we are and the lives we live. And, just as we want to recognize this in the work we publish, we want to recognize that the editorial process of selecting and presenting work is connected to the individuals that compose the So to Speak’s staff. We don’t want the name of our journal to obscure the fact that individual bodies and minds work behind the print. With this in mind, I set off to ask our outgoing editors a few things about their time at So to Speak and the incoming editors about their goals for strengthening the journal’s ability to serve in the coming year.
The idea that you can separate politics from your daily life suggests, to me, a level of privilege that presents an issue in our country today. It’s this sort of “not my problem!” kind of mentality that leaves the disenfranchised still yearning to be free, to be equal, to be respected. I unapologetically exclaim my feminist and political ideals because I think it’s important to keep our voices alive – for ourselves and for others. Because we’ve developed a loyal following of pie lovers, we have opportunity to be open with our customers about how the political climate affects not only us and our employees, but the environment, the economy, etc. It feels like a chance to be heard, and we’ll take it.
In this interview, Kaveh Akbar speaks with us about Divedapper (his project dedicated to featuring interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry), celebration, influence, process, and reading recommendations!
In this super rad interview, conducted by Madeleine Wattenberg, we hear from Oliver Baez Bendorf about his collection of poetry The Spectral Wilderness, zines, library usage, and book recommendations.
Robin Richardson is the author of two collections of poetry, including Sit How You Want forthcoming with Vehicule Press. She is also Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review. In this post, assistant blog editor, Madeleine Wattenberg, speaks with her about unsympathetic poetry, the value of ugliness, and the relationship between written and visual art.
Beyond imagination, I also firmly believe in magic as a tool for subversion, of imagining not only other worlds but other possibilities for our own world. Magic questions and destabilizes our sense of the real, and tells a different story from the one we’ve been told.
While not every show will be for or about women or “women’s issues” or for or about diversity and diverse expression, Olly Olly shows are more likely than most in Northern Virginia to include art that represents varied perspectives, a wide variety of cultures, a wide variety of mediums, and a multiplicity of backgrounds and experiences. We think that this diversity results in better shows, in better conversations, and ultimately in the creation of a better art scene and a better community.
My work is often concerned with the everyday, calling to mind the familiar artifacts and ephemera of the mundane and reimagining and transforming them into fantastical dreamlike elements of magical worlds that are just below, above, or somehow beyond our reach. I’m continuously building an ongoing narrative exploring the concept of being a stranger in a strange land. I put myself or a persona or avatar of myself into a variety of situations and environments in order to play with or question a variety of assumptions about embodiment, decolonization, race, sexuality, gender, identity, space, and place.
JCR: It’s really important for me to work not just with Feminist ideas, but within the structure of the arts community and art ecology. In DC I’m super lucky to be able to work almost exclusively with other people who also identify as women, non-binary, and queer people. I’m very very lucky I think. It’s not “cool” in this century to be militant, but I’m pretty militant—if I know a gallery is showing 80% cis male white men, I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to work with them. I’m trying to figure out professionally when or if it’s worth it to make those compromises.
In this interview, Julie Marie Wade speaks with us about writing Catechism: A Love Story, and Kristina Marie Darling discusses the book’s design and layout decisions.
Wade: My guiding question for the project was: What happens after you reach adulthood? What next? Of course I was only seeking to answer this question in light of my own experience, but it seemed an important one to probe given how much emphasis had been placed in my youth on becoming the “right” kind of adult—successful, accomplished, and desirable to the right kind of men. My parents had wished for me a life of greater certainties, fiscal and otherwise, than they imagined were possible with a vocation in the Humanities and literary arts. They had always wanted me to be a medical doctor of some kind, but I had chosen to go a different way. The real deal-breaker, from their perspective, though, was that I had also chosen to give up the prospect of a heterosexual life once I fell indisputably in love with Angie Griffin during that first year of graduate school.
Darling: I try to design books that are beautiful as objects in themselves, enacting and communicating the kind of beauty found in the work. There’s a reason Julie’s work has gotten so much well-deserved recognition. She’s a gifted prose stylist who also addresses ambitious and compelling philosophical questions in her work.