The word “apogee” denotes the point in an object’s orbit that is at the greatest distance from the center. Our journal aims to explore the periphery, the writing and writers that sit at a distance from the mainstream. By encouraging diversity and the thoughtful exploration of issues of race and cultural identity, we believe that we serve the interests of a dynamic literary community.
When I entered Columbia’s graduate writing program, I was immediately drawn to Our Word, a student group devoted to promoting diversity within Columbia’s literary community. Our Word created a space for students to express concerns about the place of writers of color in the literary landscape. I found support and understanding among members of Our Word, who were also interested in exploring cultural difference and the conundrums of racial identity.
Apogee Journal was born from these very concerns, and founded by a few dedicated members of Our Word who wanted a physical space to display the work of non-normative voices. Apogee’s mission is to provide an outlet for discussion of complex themes of race and cultural identity, and an opportunity for talented, emerging writers to be heard.
We started as a small group of editors from the graduate program, soliciting work from students in our program and the undergraduate creative writing program at Columbia. We were extremely proud of our first issue, and we found that others were equally excited about the diverse voices featured in the journal.
This year, we were joined by a group of fresh-minded new members, who have added greatly to the journal’s momentum. We are grateful for the support and guidance from two of our founding editors, Melody Nixon and Zinzi Clemmons. We’ve expanded the vision and scope of the magazine for this issue, soliciting submissions from other MFA programs, as well as from Columbia students across the disciplines. We read a lot of exciting work, and I am thrilled with the outcome—a collection of distinct perspectives, engaging with a multitude of cultural topics and tropes. We also feature visual art in this issue: exciting photography, paintings, and drawings from diverse artists.
Thank you to all of the contributors, and to the Apogee staff, for upholding the values of this cultural dialogue.
Executive Editor, on behalf of Apogee