Radical acts of survival, letter from the Poetry Editor

Dear Tinderbox Readers,
We’ve gone to monthly issues in order to showcase more of the beautiful work we receive in our Submittable inbox–your gorgeous poems are flooding our queue, and we’re excited and honored to share more of the poetry love each month.
The poems in our July issue, the first of our monthly issues, vibrate and hum with the unsayable, even as many of them are narratives, even as they bare themselves to their readers, vulnerable as hell, and all the more beautiful for their willingness to delve into the duende.
As Poetry Editor I’ve been serious about including the voices of people of color and those who are still underrepresented in the literary world (women, the LGBTQ community, non-binary poets). As a Latina poet, I understand the barriers that we continue breaking through again and again.
We’ve included many diverse voices in this issue, and we’re on the hunt for many more. It is our mission, in fact, to seek out and invite underrepresented writers to join Tinderbox Poetry Journal. I hope you, reader, will see something of yourself and your life in these poems.
The stories of these poems and the powerful voices who sing them have grabbed me by my throat, have sat me down and schooled me. But what I love intensely about these poems is that any narrative, any speaking out and rendering our lives and hearts into art, is a radical act. These are poems of loving and loss, of fairytale and fabulism as survival mechanism, as revising ourselves and the worlds in which we struggle. Natalie Scenters-Zapico writes in “Lima Limón”:

“When the stranger learns I speak Spanish

he makes me stand in my underwear & read

from Borges’ El Aleph. & because I only want

the stranger to love me, I read, & wonder if Borges

could help me jump through a period on the page

to my death.”


These poems speak to me of surviving, of embracing the darkness. The only way out is through.
I am honored to share these poems with you.
All the poetry love,

Jenn Givhan, a National Endowment for the Arts and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellow, is a Mexican-American writer and activist from the Southwestern desert. She is the author of four full-length poetry collections: Landscape with Headless Mama (2015 Pleiades Editors’ Prize), Protection Spell (2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series edited by Billy Collins), Girl with Death Mask (2017 Blue Light Books Prize chosen by Ross Gay), and Rosa's Einstein (Camino Del Sol Poetry Series, forthcoming 2019). Her two novels, Trinity Sight and Jubilee, are forthcoming from Blackstone Press. Her honors include the Frost Place Latinx Scholarship, a National Latinx Writers’ Conference Scholarship, the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize chosen by Monica Youn, the Pinch Poetry Prize chosen by Ada Limón, and ten Pushcart nominations. Her work has appeared in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ploughshares, POETRY, TriQuarterly, Boston Review, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Witness, Southern Humanities Review, Missouri Review, and The Kenyon Review, among many others. Givhan holds a Master’s degree in English from California State University Fullerton and an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and she can be found discussing feminist motherhood at jennifergivhan.com as well as Facebook & Twitter @JennGivhan.