Issue 05

Spring 2015

Those of us who are POC, queer, differently-abled, or otherwise marginalized by the heteronormative white supremacist mainstream are not allowed the privilege to speak for ourselves. Instead, we are given the responsibility to speak on behalf of ancestors or strangers who were and are continually silenced. Shouting is part of the healing process. Making art is a shedding of skin. This issue of Apogee is brimming with writers and artists who do not take this opportunity lightly. They explore what we speak and don’t, what we hide from, what sustains us, and how our histories haunt, shape, and free us. They search for identity through mercilessly investigating legacy and tradition, through rejecting and reclaiming labels. “I have no name/ until you name me,” writes Danez Smith in “surrender,” calling out the slipperiness of personal agency in this definitely-not-post-racial era. “I am beginning to understand that I am African,” writes Charif Shanahan in “Clean Slate,” reminding us that understanding is merely the precipice of inhabitation. Zubair Ahmed, too, searches through verse for anything certain, for origin and selfhood: “I ask God for my blueprints. /He hands me a thin rectangular box/ As lightweight as an insect.” When Tiphanie Yanique tells the story of a black woman desiring the body of a black man in place of her white lover, we know the character is desiring acceptance of herself.

Also featuring an interview with Paul Beatty and work by Naomi Jackson, Kate Zambreno, Kazim Ali, t’ai freedom ford, Safia Elhillo, Camonghne Felix, Mickalene Thomas, and more.

With cover art by Richard Hart.

Table of Contents


Experiential Studies by Tiphanie Yanique

The Night Suzy Link Goes Missing by Lisa Ko

The Mystery of the Best Friend by Lydia Conklin


Folie a Deux by t’ai freedom ford

Donor List: Kidney by Brionne Janae

Date Night with Abdelhalim Hafez by Safia Elhillo

Phone Call with Abdelhalim Hafez by Safia Elhillo

Beer Pong by Camonghne Felix

No Shade, Though by Camonghne Felix

Erasures by Caitlin Blanchfield

From “Nature Poem” by Tommy Pico

A Case for the Control of Guns in the Hands of Men by Emily Brandt

Rumination on She by Lirael O

Clean Slate by Charif Shanahan

Risk by Sam Sax

The Italian Root of Quarantine Is by Sam Sax

Surrender by Danez Smith

Private Manning by Kazim Ali

O’ to be Young Black & Gifted by Mike Crossley

Apologia by Jocelyn Sears

Last Night by John Lee Clark

Edges of Insomnia by Zubair Ahmed

Blueprint by Zubair Ahmed

New Map by Marisa Beltramini

The Sun of Knowledge by Nadia Anjuman

Insane Heart by Nadia Anjuman


To Be Young Gifted and Black: A Travelogue of Black Women Artists in France and America by Naomi Jackson

Baaraan-e Digar by Mina Zohal

Drift by Kate Zambreno

The Freedom to Create: An Interview with Paul Beatty

Visual Artists

Richard Hart (cover art)

Mickalene Thomas

Simone Leigh

Nica Ross

Bruce High Quality Foundation

Sara Cwynar

Jason Lazarus

Derrick Adams

Jason Larkin

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