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,

Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a 2012 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection Red Sun Mother. She was also an Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize finalist for her poetry collection Karaoke Night at the Asylum. She is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in over fifty journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2013, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, cream city review and The Los Angeles Review. She teaches composition at Western New Mexico University.