100 Haiku Chapbook

June Reading

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May 2018 Poetry Reading

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Whirlwind Issue #10 Letter From the Editor

Read Issue #10

Hello and welcome to the tenth issue of Whirlwind Magazine. The theme of this issue is on the meaning of the word Empire in the 21st century. In this issue we are focusing on the voices of those who have traditionally been marginalized in the literary world. Imperialism in the 21st century has evolved along with globalization, so that the term doesn’t exactly have its old implications (i.e. 19th/20th century American Imperialism, or 18th/19th/20th century British Imperialism) but that of an international elite who wield financial capital as a weapon in order to oppress the vast majority of humanity.

In the meantime, well-meaning individuals who act for progress have become entangled in debates over identity politics. With this issue, we aim to unite the fractured voices of writers and artists of all identities against the real root of both Western oppression and neo-colonialism: those who control globalized financial capital, otherwise known as Empire. In the 21st century, Empire adapts to resistance against it by means of implicit control over media, technology, and education systems, in order to convince people around the world that the process of globalized capitalist oppression works. We all know due to current events that this is not the case.

The following pages include engaging poetry written by contributors from the Philadelphia area and all around the world. Vernita Hall’s poems are beautifully self-aware and steeped in history as she candidly reveals the ugliness of racism. Ryan Eckes boldly speaks out against injustice, exclaiming, “never thank a democrat / for anything / we’re not supposed to be / raped and killed…” and does it in such a gritty and urgent Philly way.

Savannah Cooper-Ramsey eloquently criticizes “…walls constituting nationalism, nonsense.” Mark Danowsky’s chilling prediction of a Post-Trump apocalyptic wasteland speaks volumes. Robin Knight describes the excesses of Oberon in his intellectual isolation. Jessica Murray walks us through the automatic checklist of Empire’s quality control. Julian Tirhma introduces us to Empire’s training video. Our old friend from Jamaica, Gervanna Stephens gives us her take on how oppression makes her feel. Justin Alley’s poem juxtaposes imperialist war in Iraq with our decadent consumption of reality television. Mara Buck’s “What is Aleppo?” takes that now famous question and flips it on its head.

Catriona McAlister’s poetry confronts the luxuries we are so accustomed to in the industrialized world. Tom Pescatore’s poem reflects on the human condition in a lonesome, Philly fashion. Juanita Rey, Sandra Turner-Barnes, Kymberly Brown, Preston Hood, and Molly Day all take a look at womanhood in their own way. Our final poems come from Lamont Steptoe, who delves us into the ultimate form of oppression in slavery. And finally, we have Pegi Eyers with another brilliant essay on the many problems we face when encountering Empire. As always, we’d like to thank you, the reader, for your support and hope you enjoy reading Whirlwind issue #10.

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Cover Art by Andrea Walls

 

Letter from the Editor #9

Dear readers, welcome to the 9th issue of Whirlwind Magazine, which is our two year anniversary edition. It’s been a pleasure sharing so many voices with our audience. In the past two years we have published 167 individual writers in print, many of them having never been published before, and many having been published in the most well known literary publications out there. We’ve published local Philadelphia area writers and artists, and dozens of international voices from all of the world, hailing from countries on every inhabited continent, from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America. (We’re still waiting on a submission from Antarctica.)

We’ve published in both English and Spanish. We’ve published artwork in a myriad of mediums. We’ve published with an astounding rate of diversity in each issue, without going out of the way to do so. The 9th issue features 13 women writers and 4 men writers of various cultural backgrounds. This issue focuses on the theme of paralysis. James Joyce incorporated the idea of paralysis throughout his famous short story collection Dubliners, in which it has a clear effect on modern people on both a personal and societal level in 20th century life. That idea still applies to life in the 21st century.

We believe that the idea of globalized paralysis sums up the themes we’ve had for Whirlwind Magazine in the past, whether the focus was on our current catastrophic environmental dilemma (issue #8), or continued neo-colonial mistreatment by governments of indigenous peoples (issue #7), or systemic poverty (issue #5), or the debilitating status of veterans suffering from PTSD (issue #4). In the age of neo-liberal world-wide imperialist rule by the few over the many, paralysis is masked by smoke and mirrors progress. The poems and stories in issue #9 reflect upon paralysis in the context of our previous themes, and come together to form a cohesive conclusion to the past two years of our quarterly publication. Our motive is to look beyond the paralytic veneers that are placed before our collective eyes.

Our aim has been and will be to bear witness. In our very first issue, released in July of 2014, I ended my first letter stating that, “[w]e can only hope that this magazine contributes, in any way, to help us keep our ‘…eyes wide open / like luminous winter stars / sentenced to electric chair deaths…’ which is an excerpt from “Nightwatchmen,” a poem featured in our first issue by our founder, Lamont Steptoe. We are proud to present the contributors you’ll find in the following pages, who, you’ll discover have eyes wide open as well. Thanks so much for reading and supporting Whirlwind Magazine. Enjoy!

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issue #9 art by Priscilla Boatwright design by Melissa Rothman