Turning me Into a Bear by Laura Madeline Wiseman and Genevieve N. Williams in Lavender Review
Reading this piece reminded me of having someone whisper in my ear to tell me an intimate secret. The words are quiet and soft, each sound running into the next. I felt as if I was lying there in the body of the speaker, trying so desperately to make the “you” understand that I wasn’t confused. Wiseman and Williams have a beautiful way with imagery that makes things come alive and settle in the pit of my stomach, so that they stay with me all day. ~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant
She, You and I by Elham Mansour, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette in WORDS without BORDERS
This excerpt from Mansour’s I Am You (Ana Hiya Anti): A Novel on Lesbian Desire in the Middle East, the first lesbian novel in Arabic originally published in 2008, is a philosophy of love, a conversation with lengthy dialogue passages posing intimate questions about motivations, issues of power and passion, and many other complexities of the heart, and the body. I found the beginning passage very moving, and the subsequent conversation left me with an intense longing to learn more about the lives of these characters. ~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor
La Dama (“the lady”) by Sarah Frances Moran in Tinderbox
Moran has a way with form and words. She melds the two together to create a cohesive piece that falls apart just as the speaker is falling apart. I reread this poem at least three times in a single day because I fell so in love with her writing.~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant
Title by Tamiko Beyer in About Place Journal
The three sections of this poem work together to form a single poem; yet at the same time, the three pieces remain separate. There are three situations, three stories. It reminds me of how everything in life is separate, yet all combined. Everything builds upon everything else in this piece. Beyer uses magic to spawn a beautiful poem filled with imagery and sounds that I cannot get out of my head.~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant
trans womanhood, in colour by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang in Room
The array of emotions projected within, and between, the lines of this poem serves not only as a showcase of the complexities of an individual life, but also a well for reflection for me as a reader. Using the natural world metaphors of a flower, and a butterfly, Wilson-Yang focuses on strengths, not delicacies—the piece almost acts as a dare, a dare to damage, with a conversation about colour that is very intriguing. ~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor
Queer Indian Art by Sohum in bluestockings magazine
Sohum’s 32 page exploration of queer Hindu imagery is truly fascinating. Speaking on homophobia, casteism, transphobia, and much more, Sohum’s work with aluminum foil, mehndi, trash bags, and acrylics challenges Westerners in a way I have never seen before. It’s about appropriation, and ultimately about safety. At once a representation of strength, frailty and the politics of the creative, the work stands as an effort to create a compassionate understanding, willing me to, yes, as the description for the piece, “Britain’s Crown Jewel,” to “crumple all the aluminum foil casts together and toss it out.”~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor
Orlando, mi amor by Vikram Kolmannskog in Qvakk
This brief, yet incredibly moving piece is a love letter. A love letter to Orlando, in the voice of a man speaking to his lover. It’s a work of sadness, fear, pride, and passion. Kolmannskog’s eloquence is a yearning for what comes next… and ends with an invitation to a song—the beautiful Bésame Mucho. ~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor
Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on twitter @laurels_idea.
Emily Ramser is an undergraduate studying English, Creative Writing, and Religion at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. Some of her inspirations include Thornton Wilder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bhanu Kapil, Andrea Gibson, Gabriel Gudding, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gail Simone, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Check out her black out poetry collection I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Me. You can find more of her work at her blog.