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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