I've been thinking a lot about the importance of silence and what silence offers and interrogates within a poem. I have to say, I haven't given it much scholarship to these thoughts, but when I look at the poems in this issue, I am intrigued with how silence moves among them.
Banah al-Ghadbanah' writes,
the voices without sounds
the holy spirits inside the ground
and I'm reminded of how silence can be holy, or can unveil a type of faith inside me—faith that heals and transforms, bleeds and interrogates.
When looking out the window every so often, I notice the same crow—if you'll allow me this—who crow-skips to the end of the building across the way, peers over, and then skips away. This, too, I think is a type of faith that silence brings because the crow doesn't announce itself, nor do I announce the crow's existence.
Jaz Sufi writes, "I am better than here. I am here, better," and I am drawn to the meditation of what it means to be "better" and to be "here." What is "here" when there is nothing but silence and where does this silence, this moment of nothingness, take us? What does it mean to be "better" in a world where our bodies are constantly harmed? I am "here" but I am not "better." I am "silent," but I am not absent.
What I love about this issue is how each poet redefines these thoughts and pushes them to the edge, makes them peer over us, and gently trots away. Although, they still stay with us, briefly and forever. And forever, every day after reading them, they come back. They don't need to announce their presence. But you see them. You feel them. They are free.
—Luther Hughes, Founder
Huge thank you to jayy dodd for her creation and collaboration of THEE SPACE Poetry Prize, and to Xandria Phillips for judging. I am so excited for everyone to read Nora Hikari's work, and the work of the finalists, Mia S. Willis, huiying b. chan, and Tejaswini Sudhakar.
Thank you to everyone who donated, shared, and submitted. The contest would not be a success without you. To click through each publication, I suggested hitting that "Next" button below each and every time.