By Founder & Editor-in-Chief Peter LaBerge.
We've had a pretty incredible year here on the Adroit Journal's blog—from the arrival of Blog Editor Aidan Forster, to a series of important, brave op-ed's, to interviews that shed light where we didn't know light could be shone. Check out some of our favorite posts.
What does it mean to be a person? The questions are large and our lives are small.
I'd like to shred the memos from society telling me I should be ashamed to discuss mental illness. I'm sick of how the topic rarely seems to enter public discourse except as a means of explaining away the crimes of mass murderers. I'm sick of how it's used in the wake of heinous acts as if to suggest that only people with mental illness are capable of horror.
Grief, for a while, is a blindness that elevates dark matter into the allegorical, the narrative, the symbolic, and the metaphoric, and through the metaphoric especially, into the poet's capacity for empathy.
On December 8, 2014, I ceased to exist. I submitted my manuscript, Fleshgraphs (a hybrid book in fragments that rotate around the unifier of the body), to Tarpaulin Sky Press. Upon reading it, the "man behind the curtain" at the press decided that I was not real.
The voice is an instrument, and it's a vehicle for emotion. Thinking of the voice as an instrument causes you to take a different perspective on how to treat it. Many times, singing is the only way I can truly emote something and get my message across to an audience.
I think I'm just now refining the technique of creating inviting work that has a deeper connotation, which I see as being very in line with the 50-70s era. The pieces were fun for me because they served as my coming out, and gave me a lot of inspirational reactions from audiences including certain family members who decided they couldn't be associated with a sexual deviant. Sorry, Aunt Kim.
I started writing poetry when I was 30, when I had recently become infected. So whereas the fiction I left behind tended to be about coming out and gay coming of age, my poetry tended to be, implicitly or explicitly, about living with HIV. Even if the poem seemed to be about a young gay man who was sad and lonely, the subtext was that he was sad and lonely ultimately because of living with HIV, losing lovers, feeling like a pariah, fearing for his life, feeling his mortality so very deeply, palpably. It colored the way he looked at his past, present, and future.
If you couldn't make the festival, don't fret. We've managed to bring the reading to you, courtesy of prose mentee Shannon Sommers' iPhone (Thanks, Shannon!).
In the same way panels are not labeled “white,” are not labeled “inclusive of men” or even “exclusive of women,” we do not want to be defined by something as physical as one aspect of our identities—because there is so much inside each well of identity, each race, gender, socio-economic class, religion, and everywhere else.
“Is hooking up with an editor still a thing?” “No, that’s so Seattle.”
I’d say write everything & lean into what most terrifies you. Try & focus on what it is about language that brought you to the page to begin with, drag what you’re most afraid of out into the light. & once it’s all there, you can decide what it is that you want to share -- hold on to what would do more damage than good & consider the rest.