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.

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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
Phone Call with Abdelhalim Hafez by Safia Elhillo
Date Night 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 artist)
Mickalene Thomas
Simone Leigh
Nica Ross
The Bruce High Quality Foundation
Sara Cwynar
Jason Lazarus
Derrick Adams
Jason Larkin
Anastasiya Lazurenko