I started this issue of Room in 2019; I have since worked on it in different countries, different cities, and now find myself in a different world. When I first began to think about the kind of issue I wanted to make, I thought about how multiple places could be home, how so many people could become family, and now, in the virtual interactions of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think about what remains.
In this issue, you will find poetry that contends with selfhood, prose that searches for home, and art that extends an open palm. These pages won’t always offer comfort, but I hope they will present an exploration of the ways in which we try to connect.
Writer Nazanine Hozar posits in her interview with Isabella Wang that “languages open doors for you. Each one has its own music.” Twine, the object, is created by its own verb. While the threads running through this issue twist and twine together revealing the many notes of relationships, at its fibre is the love we hold and offer.
In Leah Edwards’ short story, “Marion’s Holy Land Experience,” a young girl wrestles with her partner’s evasion of commitment while she contends with an unwelcome commitment of her own. Jenny Heijun Wills tenderly depicts the family we choose for ourselves in her nonfiction piece, “An Epilogue of BIPOC Love.” kitchen mckeown’s “Cancer Poem” paints a portrait of unflinching self-knowledge. Jasmine Sealy reignites the love of a place in her short story “Collapse.” And, in our extended BackRoom interview, Whitney French and Alannah Johnson unpack publishing relationships, and the notion of being “not just accountable, but really committed to the voices of community.”
I was incredibly lucky through this process to have had two co-assistant editors: Isabella Wang and Molly Cross-Blanchard, who were so honest and creative with their ideas and input. I am grateful for the time and energy they supported me with.
To you readers, I offer the threads that connect us to each other, ourselves, and the places we’ve been and of which we dream.
$12.00 – $21.00
Canada, USA, Outside North America
ROOM 43.4, Twine
Edited by Geffen Semach
In this issue: Shaelin Bishop, Jaclyn Desforges, Alisha Dukelow, Leah Edwards, Thomarya ‘tee’ Fergus, Whitney French, Jamisyn Gleeson, Nazanine Hozar, Jenny Heijun Wills, Tiffany Hsieh, Jessi Lee Jackson, Jen Wei Ting, Alannah Johnson, Margo LaPierre, Annick MacAskill, Dawn Macdonald, Laila Malik, kitchen mckeown, Catherine Mellinger, Dene Moore, Marisca Pichette, Maria Qamar, Natasha Ramoutar, Emily Riddle, Jasmine Sealy, Nadia Siu Van, Katie So, Dahae Song, Marie Metaphor Specht, amanda wan, Isabella Wang, Evelyn C. White, and Eugenia Zuroski