A curated literary guide

Week #1 / 2nd – 8th January, 2017

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Five Things with Fatimah Asghar

1. The last thing that made you smile.

I got to hang out with my little cousins this week—they’re so cute and silly. We roasted smores and my youngest cousin was totally just covering herself in melted chocolate because she was trying to eat it all. That was pretty cute.

2. A secret.

I love weird celebrity gossip.

3. The last thing you wrote.

A poem called “If They Should Come For Us.” Post-Trump I’ve been feeling pretty afraid, as a muslim woman of color. The poem explores that.

4. Favourite city.


5. What you’d place in a time capsule.

My journals. I don’t have a lot of journals or relics of my childhood writing from growing up and I really wish that I did. I would love to have them in a place that was safe.

Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, photographer and performer. While on a Fulbright studying theater in post-violent contexts she created a Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, BuzzFeed Reader, PEN Poetry Series, Academy of American Poets, The Margins, and Gulf Coast. She is a Kundiman Fellow and a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Her chapbook After was released on Yes Yes Books fall of 2015.


poetry from Jasmine Cui

Our heritage can be a powerful and painful subject for poetry, as established by Jasmine Cui in ‘Karyotype’. Here, the family tree is dissected and then assembled before us: the speaker as mother, father, grandmother. We’re given names of places we know, or maybe we don’t. There’s a stringing together of poignant and physical images arranged in such a way that I have yet to see another poet accomplish. There’s no hesitation or second-guessing of identity from this young poet, which as we enter the uncertain year of 2017, is a refreshing and hopeful attitude to have.

Visit Glass: A Journal of Poetry to read the poem.

Contributing Editor / Hannah Cohen

Spell to Delay the End of Time

poetry from Anne Champion & Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Now is the traditional time of resolutions, commitments to curb small addictions, a fresh calendar to map out months of better health—all reasonable and incremental changes within the small spheres of our lives as we slough off the rough, ill-fitted 2016. But what if we were to invoke something more powerful than year-end resolutions? What if we committed to the rich power of life, both the darkness and light, wreckage and creation? Jenny Sadre-Orafai and Anne Champion’s poem ‘Spell to Delay the End of Time’ is a flash of silver water in the wilds, a guide for 2017 that we can follow through the trees to our best-lived life.

Visit Amethyst Arsenic to read the poem.

Contributing Editor / Reneé Bibby

My Mother Cannot Look at Me Without Wanting to Cry

poetry from Adam Hamze

What can we find in language? How words stem from one to another, how they shift and take on new meaning and new iterations. Hamze’s poem in the inaugural issue of the Shade Journal explores origin, family, and language, unearthing glimpses of the conflict that comes from being between two places, from being of two places. What rifts and new bridges migration leaves behind, what new challenges and fears replace the old. There are several moments in this poem that still you, that transform before your eyes. There are so many moments that have stayed with me, and I hope you’ll find the same in this poem as well.

PS. Check out the rest of this issue of the Shade Journal, I promise you won’t regret it.

Visit the Shade Journal to read the poem.

Contributing Editor / Joyce Chong

Testimony of Nadia Murad

poetry from Tracy Fuad

Before you read this small, terrifying poem, you’ve already taken in its shape—a cloud, a wave length. Its symmetry belies the content.

The poem begins, “They arrived and told / us if we convert we could live,” and crescendos into illegibility as more and more lines of text are stuffed together in the middle of the poem. Stray phrases like “stay downstairs” and “part of me changed in their hands” hang onto the limits of readability. The text calms down, evens out, and leaves you with the reminder that no matter how close poetry brings us to terrible truth, it can only bring us to the edge of understanding.

For yet another angle of entry into the poem, I would recommend listening to the poet’s recording.

Visit Powder Keg to read the poem.

Contributing Editor / Andrew Sargus Klein

Everywhere in the World They Hurt Little Black Girls

poetry from Tafisha A. Edwards

I found myself returning to this poem by Tafisha A. Edwards after its publication in the fall. While the necessary declaration of #BlackGirlMagic rang throughout 2016, it is also these moments of a more tenuous magic that need to be archived. ‘Everywhere in the World They Hurt Little Black Girls’ is a mediation on subtlety & ritual. Its repetition conjures a tragic blossoming; a mantra becoming a warning. Part of Winter Tangerine’sLove Letters to Spooks’ feature, this poem is accompanied by a recorded reading by Edwards, creating a pleasant insight to the sonic labor of the poem.

Visit Winter Tangerine to read the poem.

Contributing Editor / jayy dodd

Hello & Welcome

We’ll start this daily section with a quick introduction & explanation. We want it to be a daily moment, a daily highlight, hopefully something worth waiting for.

During the week our contributing editors will each link and discuss work from various places online. As a form of introduction we thought we’d link to a piece written by each of the editors: jayy dodd, Andrew Sargus Klein, Joyce Chong, Reneé Bibby, and Hannah Cohen.

On Saturdays, a new small thing: ‘Five Things’. A section where we ask writers, readers and artists to give us a peek inside their world.

Finally, on Sundays we’ll send out a roundup via our Tinyletter newsletter.

Journal Editor / Michelle Tudor