As a fairly new indie journal whose merit and potential are communicated largely via online posts and the occasional bout of word-of-mouth communication, I believe that TRACK//FOUR can only benefit from acknowledging magazines and booklets of similar status and/or motive. That is why I've compiled a brief list of collected and individual works that I've been reading as of this week that can be slotted into that category. With so much stellar art by and for people of color going unnoticed because of bigoted publishing practices and the general scrutiny that seems to tail marginalized people in every aspect of daily life, there can never be a bad time to acknowledge and uplift our work.
#10: Lighthouse for the Drowning by Jawdat Fakhreddine (BOA Editions, Ltd.: June 13, 2017)
"Presented bilingually, this first US publication of Jawdat Fakhreddine—one of the major Lebanese names in modern Arabic poetry—establishes a revolutionary dialogue between international, modernist values and the Arabic tradition. Fakhreddine’s unique voice is a breakthrough for the poetic language of his generation—an approach that presents poetry as a beacon, a lighthouse that both opposes and penetrates all forms of darkness.
"JAWDAT FAKHREDDINE was born in 1953 in a small village in southern Lebanon. A professor of Arabic literature at the Lebanese University in Beirut, he is one of the major Lebanese names in Modern Arabic Poetry, and is considered one of the second generation poets of the modernist movement in the Arab world. He earned an MA in Physics and taught at the high school level for more than 10 years. During this time he published a number of poetry collections and was encouraged by Adonis to work on a PhD in Arabic literature. Fakhreddine intermittently publishes articles and new poems in al-Hayat newspaper, which is an Arab newspaper published in London and distributed worldwide, and in as-Safir, one of the two major Lebanese Newspapers. He writes a weekly article in al-Khaleej newspaper, a widely distributed gulf daily newspaper. He currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon."
This past weekend, the world watched as an estimated 2.9 million people came together to form the largest one-day protest in U.S. history, and while the event itself will no doubt be remembered as a landmark moment in Washington’s long record of reactionary marches and protests, the Women’s March was not without flaws. One of the largest complaints-- voiced overwhelmingly by women and gender non-conforming people of color-- was that in refusing to accommodate the concerns of queer and/or disabled nonwhite people, and promoting cissexist Second Wave feminist rhetoric, the march alienated the people who will be most affected by Trump's administration while praising for their “efforts” those who have the least to lose: cisgender, middle-class, able-bodied white women.
The truth of the event is that for many people, it will be a one-time commitment; an unfortunate reality is that not everyone is willing (or able to) invest the time and energy that on-ground protesting necessitates. Thankfully, there are other ways to support the necessary activist work that marginalized people are doing that go beyond the limits of physical labor. Amidst rumors that Trump plans to cut funding for the NEA and NEH, making a commitment to fund the artistic aims of nonwhite people will be especially important in the next four years. Here I've compiled a list of organizations to support, with special attention given to two collectives for trans women. A larger list can be found at the bottom of the blog post.
I'll preface this by saying that I’m not embarrassed to admit that even over a month since Donald Trump’s election win, I still find myself reeling from the shock of it all. I don't cry, not anymore, but I wish I could. In hard times tears are their own sort of amnesty, and it is a strange thing to feel chained to your own body as a direct result of the bigotry of others, overcome by a strange fear: the fear, slow-crawling and inescapable, that every time I stand in a room full of white people I will experience a sudden bout of synaesthetic paranoia and hear that 58%, bleeding through the fraudulent concern in their voices.
Blame it on our hopeless optimism, maybe even our naivete, but many people, particularly people of color and queer people and disabled people, genuinely believed that America would do the right thing. Make the right decision. We hoped, and though we were awestruck when the antithesis of that hope hit us like a double decker bus, we managed to right ourselves and keep walking, even when it meant we had to wander through the haze of anxiety and indecision for weeks. Quite a few people coped in the aftermath of the Trumpist tumult by doing what they always did: making brilliant, breathtaking art. But I’m also not embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t bring myself to be one of them.
But, because I couldn’t write, I read. I devoured thinkpiece after ridiculous thinkpiece, and marvelled at the ability of my peers to counter the election’s unbridled bigotry with scathing critiques and brutal grace, and asked myself what it meant that my coming of age would be characterized by a presidency that had the potential to ruin my life as a queer Black person. There was no answer, obviously, and after a while, the half-assed lambastes of identity politics coming from the liberal left started wearing on my nerves; I suppose it was convenient enough that in my time of darkness, the book I picked up just so happened to be the Holy Grail.
(content warning: mild nudity)
Congratulations to all the winners of YoungArts 2017! We are pleased to announce that several of TRACK//FOUR's editorial staff and contributors have been recognized in this years awards!
"YoungArts is proud to announce its 2017 Winners - 691 of the nation’s most promising young artists. Selected from the largest pool of applicants to date, YoungArts Winners receive cash awards of up to $10,000, mentorship and training from acclaimed artists, opportunities to participate in YoungArts programs, and guidance in taking important steps toward achieving their artistic goals.
"Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, the 2017 Winners represent the top 8.67% of applications and include 166 Finalists, the organization’s highest honor."
Here are TRACK//FOUR's YoungArts Winners:
JORDAN HARPER // Contributor // Writing/Creative Nonfiction (Honorable Mention)
KATHRYN HARGETT // Editor-in-Chief // Writing/Creative Nonfiction (Merit) & Writing/Poetry (Honorable Mention)
CHRISTINA IM // Contributor // Writing/Poetry (Finalist)
KATHERINE LIU // Poetry Editor // Writing/Creative Nonfiction (Merit)
TOPAZ WINTERS // Contributor // Writing/Poetry (Finalist)
Once again, congratulations!