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The Humble Crafter
for Paul Violi
I am thinking of you and the whimsical
grace with which you lived and taught; the humor
you enjoyed, imbued; the daily rumor
of your wit; life’s confusion, its musical
charm—a drunk, Irish priest on a bicycle
delivering the gospel of “do more
god than ham before you sniff the tomb,” or
veer sharply into the metaphysical
fish cart. What more wincing balm than laughter
coaxed from savage jaws of self-importance?
A ransom note haiku, published at birth:
the threat of beauty by a humble crafter,
demanding that we greet our happenstance
by marveling at what one life is worth.
The Revolution (Relaunch) is a monthly online and print literary publication and a revisionary, radical, and creative resurgence of the weekly women’s rights newspaper founded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (1868-1872), which was the official publication of the National Woman Suffrage Association.
Per their About page, their “objective is to provide a space for creative activism, for arts-based research and commentary, thereby producing a diverse body of compassionate, lyrical resistance as opposed to an inflamed polemic.”
I was curious how and why this literary newspaper began, so I asked Founding Editor/Editor-in-chief Rosemarie Dombrowski some questions to find out. See my interview with Dombrowski and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Revolution (Relaunch).
DOMBROWSKI: The Revolution (Relaunch) (TRR) is a creative resurgence of its harbinger, The Revolution, which was the newspaper of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1868-72. Though we’re based in Phoenix, AZ, we’re not limited in scope or vision—geographic, demographic, or otherwise.
We’re interested in publishing literary, historical, and cultural commentary (under 750 words) with relevance to the contemporary socio-political landscape, as well as social justice-oriented flash memoir and poetry.
Our topical landscape is feminism, though in the broadest, most inclusive and intersectional connotation of the word, meaning in addition to engaging with organizations, activists, and writers working in the area of women’s rights, we’re equally interested in socio-economic and access-based issues, education, indigenous rights and land rights, the LatinX community and the border, immigrant and migrant rights, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, and disability rights. In other words, we’re attempting to transform what was once an all-white endeavor into something intersectional and representative.
HOPKINSON: How/why was The Revolution (Relaunch) originally started?
DOMBROWSKI: I stumbled upon the original in late spring (2019), amidst the wave of clinic closures and restrictions on reproductive rights around the country. Additionally, the border/immigration issues that have plagued our state (AZ) for decades were becoming national (if not global) human rights atrocities, so it seemed like it was time to reignite the fervor of the first wave of feminism because basic human rights were at stake again.
Ironically, my father (who passed when I was 14) gave me my first Susan B. Anthony dollar the year they were minted (1979). He pressed it into my palm and simply said that she was an important woman in American history. I was maybe 4 at the time, and that memory came flooding back to me when I discovered the original Revolution, so I knew it was time.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
DOMBROWSKI: I fervently believe that this is for our base, i.e. the creatives and the activists. We want them to see what’s possible when the creative and the critical/journalistic commingle in a publication that’s dedicated to furthering social justice. From there, we’re hoping that people who are interested in supporting the agency of all citizens will acknowledge the value and appeal of the work that we’re curating. Of course, we want anyone who’s desirous and/or in need of a platform to find us as well.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
DOMBROWSKI: Broadly speaking, we’re looking for creative activism, social justice-oriented writing. Genre-wise, we’re interested in poetry and flash memoir, flash fiction and literary journalism, cultural commentary and profiles. We’re also very interested in scholarship that connects the 19th century origins of suffrage and abolitionist politics to the current socio-political climate—everything that a 19th century newspaper would’ve included in their pages and then some.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
DOMBROWSKI: I’d like to see more scholarship in concise packages, scholarship that’s informed but also feels relevant to a general readership as opposed to an academic one. I’ve been hungry for this for decades—activist-minded work that lives at the intersection of the critical, the creative, and the popular.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
DOMBROWSKI: Brevity has been my favorite for years. I’m a voracious reader of flash, especially flash memoir. My newest obsession is Avidly, which is a division of the LA Times Review of Books. It’s dedicated to pop-culture-oriented literary scholarship and it’s delicious!
Ironically, I don’t cruise the small press world for a lot of poetic content because I run a small press dedicated solely to publishing micro-collections of micropoetry – rinky dink press – so I’m constantly reading submissions. Additionally, American poetry is my area of specialization in my academic/teaching life, so I use poets.org and the Poetry Foundation daily.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with The Revolution (Relaunch)?
DOMBROWSKI: My favorite part has been curating the editorial board, watching the editors shape their various roles. Not to mention the fact that the ed board is kind of a dream team, one that’s comprised of some of my favorite local poets as well as some of my most admired colleagues, former students, and community-based partners. I’m particularly fond of the division of labor, the ownership each editor has over their area of content.
I also love the community-building that this kind of work fosters. I suppose that’s why I’ve been doing it (i.e. running small presses/publications) since 2005. Nurturing a literary community beyond the classroom/walls of the university has always been a priority for me, and I think that that, in and of itself, constitutes a kind of creative activism.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
DOMBROWSKI: Given that we’re a newspaper that publishes on the first of every month, we have no deadlines and are always looking for new content—social justice-oriented writing under 750 words in every genre, from poetry to flash memoir, literary and cultural commentary to visual art. Send your submissions and inquiries to email@example.com. You can also reach us through our website at www.therevolutionrelaunch.com
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Always Open
FORMAT: print and online
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: prose, poems, and visual art
SUBMISSION METHOD: email
Molly is the only woman
she knows who talks about herself
in the third person. She used to like
people but now she’s a misanthrope
who has read Moliere.
O, to be a famous recluse!
Molly surprised a shadow
flitting in the mirror behind her this morning.
Every morning Molly’s beauty deepens.
This shadow, Molly tells herself,
is the future. The corpus of your beliefs
shaped by your gaze to be the state
of the art of melancholia modified by
a sublime narcissism – that’s what
she wants as she celebrates herself.
But the shadow wanders in the woods
and gazes at her face in the stream
where outgrown beliefs gather and flow.
And yet among them is a long dismissed city
under the earth, inhabited by potters making
rows and rows of likenesses of Molly accurate
to the mole on her inner thigh, an army of her
waiting like Emperor Qinshihuang soldiers
to surface after an earthquake to possess all men.
There are no outgrown beliefs, Molly, look again.
“Look again at this city of angels, this time
with the sound of a trumpet solo in your ears,”
she tells herself. The advice is easy to pass along,
but she only has eyes for the “you” of the song,
the you who took advantage of “me,” someone
exactly like you, and you get happy,
and Molly has the right to sing the blues.
The Nr.3 train wagon has fallen silent. The plague
is taking her elders. How old are you anyway, dear,
she asks herself. She’s never sure if she’s thirty
or seventy. They say the elders’ harvest has begun.
Are you leaving? Will she remain?
She hears the rain outside and not a word is heard.
This must be the place I will forever report from.
Note: “Paul Violi, whose birthday was July 20, was my workshop teacher when I was starting out. I know this is his birthday because I wrote a poem about the failed attempt to kill Hitler on July 20, 1944, and Paul told me he was born on that very day. So I want to dedicate this poem to him and post it only on July 20.” — MA
Ed. note: The picture above is of Emperor Qin Shihuang.
“First of all, you must learn the
constitution of man and the modifications
which it has undergone, for originally
it was different from what it is now.”
Plato, The Symposium.
We all begin
in the skins we’re in,
hurled into the world
like colored comets
as if by chance.
is a brightness
the dance of difference.
And the fact
that you don’t have to
think about this,
is a proof enough
More at http://about.me/dklawitter.
David Lehman, Governor Ned Lamont’s top economic-development official, weighs in on the lure of the nutmeg state to New Yorkers looking to exit the city. Some NY transplants are here just for the crisis, some are here to stay. “We are going to market ourselves more to those individuals as opposed to marketing ourselves to the company,” said Lehman, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, who has lived in Greenwich, Ct., for more than a decade.
I could detect the taste of the city on your lips.
The city and her languorous afternoon we spent in bed.
Every evening at 6 pm the chords of your guitar used to grow rose buds.
Sheer sunsets imprinted on our bodies.
Streets, labyrinths of gray cobblestones, dying in the orange light only to be revived later in the night by the steps of lovers desperately calling each other like song sparrows, brown streaks through each eye.
You said if I leave, I would become a stranger to the city. Did you mean to your lips?
I looked at the clock. Its hands showed no time. I answered:
How interesting. Strangers are always destined to replace.
By the little colored stall where ice cream was sold in the summer your guitar shed its notes: rose petals in the remnants of a cold wind.
excerpt from my book in progress: Remembrance of Love [working title]
My poetry collection, Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, is available on Amazon here.
@short- prose-fiction (Gabriela Marie Milton)
image: agsandrew; Shuterstock; [link]
Look for Remus in the index of a book
And you are bound to get “See Romulus”
Which is perfectly logical but makes me wonder
About indexes, or indices, and why I prefer the former
As the plural except in a financial context, and how
An index to a book that may not exist may imply
A whole biography, as my friend Paul Violi
Showed in his poem “Index.” My late friend
Paul Violi, whom I still see in the street
Sometimes, walking along at an unhurried pace
So if I walk fast I will catch up to him at the corner
Before the light turns green.
Ed. Note: Books by Paul Violi (July 20, 1944 – April 2, 2011) include Splurge, In Baltic Circles, and Selected Poems, 1970-2007. Check out his “Counterman,” which guest editor Billy Collins selected for The Best American Poetry 2006. It was also chosen by Robert Pinsky for The Best of the Best American Poetry: 25th Anniversary Edition.