June 2020

Like so many other caring and conscientious souls across artistic and media platforms, your friends at Kawsmouth are looking around the city and nation and wondering what message we should send. The first part of that answer is obvious: to state our belief that Black Lives Matter, to affirm our solidarity with people of color, our support for the rights for LGBTQ individuals, the safety and dignity of immigrants and those seeking asylum in our country, the health of the poor, the humanity of the incarcerated, the safe education of our children, and improved professional conditions for women.

At a time when marchers fill the streets, when injustice and brutality are on full display in our cities and in our institutional systems, does publishing poetry and artwork about nature, plants, painting, not feel a bit escapist? Perhaps. But I also think this current movement — born of systemic racial injustice but also of sudden feelings of vulnerability brought on by the pandemic — is also about finding the beauty in daily life and seeing that beauty reflected in each other. And about finding strength and shared experience in our common humanity.

While Kawsmouth has been more rooted in observation and imagination than political viewpoints, we also want to make sure to create a site that reflects of the social and historical realities of what is around us. I have been reminded of a few pieces in particular lately: The Talk, by Vincente Perez, about interactions with police by people of color. Or “The Invisible Confederacy” by Matthew Brent Jackson, an in-depth look at the physical and psychological remnants of our city’s divided past. And “Smallest Town in Kansas,” by Richard Luftig, a short story about xenophobia and reconciliation in small-town America.

We are proud of what we publish. And from the start we have made an effort to present a site that contains many voices. So we will continue to do what we are doing, which is to share — if a bit irregularly and erratically — works of artistic vision and varied perspectives. But our own network only goes so far, and it would be absurd to think that we can’t do much, much better, especially when it comes to publishing artists and writers of color. And so we invite you to submit some of your own writing, artwork, or photography, or to nominate someone you think we should contact.

Thank you for reading, and please keep in touch,

Lucas and Jenn,