BFA Faculty and Literary Journal Advisor
In a year of blood and anguish in Ayotzinapa, Damascus, Ferguson, Gaza, Marysville, and so many other places, what is the point of another tiny, upstart literary journal? I have asked myself that question more than once during the twenty months I’ve worked with Goddard BFA students to create a new, student-edited journal.
Our BFA students have a clear answer: raising voices. The voices of Duende weave a narrative of our world today, in all its heart-breaking splendor. Here are just a few examples from our debut issue:
“She wonders and worries often about our civilization and whether or not we will survive acid rain, the holes in the ozone, the melting polar ice caps and what has happened to all those poor, poor bees. Don’t worry about her….”
~ Bianca Spriggs, “Mixed Media in the Age of Anthropocene” (poem)
“Can a sign be plaintive? I think it can. It was the way she tipped the letters for please that did it, each plastic piece perfectly aligned, leaning slightly to the right.”
~ Robin Koman, “The Secret Letters” (short story)
“This skin is the cry of black wolves,
burned tires and broken beer bottles,
the sea of Moses stripped down the middle,
mocha-skinned mothers lugging bodies”
~ Nadia Alexis, “Black Soliloquy” (poem)
“[E]ach loss brings up previous losses, each bout of grief awakens dormant sadness. And I hold my breath; brace myself to absorb the impact because the grief of my children will always be mine.”
~ Goddard BFA alumna Seema Reza, “Places Temporarily Submerged” (hybrid prose)
Through the work of these writers, and the thirty-one other writers and visual artists who generously contributed to Duende this fall, our journal lives its mission: “Duende aspires to represent the true beauty and diversity of the U.S. literary ecosystem. A majority of the writers and artists in our journal come from groups that are underrepresented. That is to say, most of the work we publish will be from writers and artists who are queer, of color, differently abled, immigrant, working class, youth, elder, and /or otherwise from communities that are too often overlooked by literary gatekeepers.”
Duende’s student editors are proud to nominate six works of poetry and prose from our debut issue for Pushcart Prizes:
Nadia Alexis’s poem “Black Soliloquy” ~ for its awe-inspiring rawness
Ellen Hagan’s poem “Grits” ~ for our editors’ collective “hell, yes!”
Robin Koman’s short story “The Secret Letters” ~ for its elegant pacing and satisfying resolution
Seema Reza’s hybrid prose piece for “Places Temporarily Submerged” ~ for its strong, evocative metaphors
Bianca Spriggs’s poem “Mixed Media in the Age of Anthropocene” ~ for its emotion and resonant sensory detail
Anastacia Tolbert’s short story “Alice” ~ for a killer opening and stylish friction that stays strong right to the end
Congratulations to these six writers!
We are thankful to all our contributing writers and visual artists for manifesting the spirit of Duende. As we read the more than seven hundred submissions we’ve received for Spring 2015, we’re grateful for the opportunity to connect with socially engaged literature and art from across the country and around the world.