The New Engagement, Issue No. 1 Preview

The following partial list of works appearing in Print Issue No. 1 reflect our aim to share poetry and fiction that offer a kaleidoscopic take on the human condition, hearing from those whose stories are not often told, whose viewpoints are too commonly ignored. New works will be added to this list as we finalize the roster of writers and artists.

  • “To a Young English Friend” by Edmund White. In Walt Whitman's bed, a tender connection buds between two men of different generations and contrasting orientations.
  • With words, images, and sensations otherwise overlooked, unseen, or only ineffably experienced, Hafsa Musa’s three poems,  “Wagmu Pejuia,” “Roundhouse Theory,” and “Autumnal Whip,” capture profound phenomena in natural and unnatural worlds alike. Earth, texture, political trespasses, psychological massacre, and historical derangement meld, reshape, and give life to a formidable perspective.
  • Aimé Casillas’ “The Wedding” details the struggles of two sisters who view—and, indeed, are viewed by—the world in vastly different ways. An urgent connection binds them, even as classist sentiments threaten to undermine their family, which is already on the cusp of dissolution and estrangement.
  • M.G. Stephens’s “Jazz at The Top” reveals itself to be a love letter to jazz, free expression, and companionship, as we follow the expansive story of a gifted, downtrodden musician through a tough, though glorious, life.
  • In Thomas Garcia’s “Burn The Sun,” racial sovereignty, ethnic exploitation, speculative scenarios, hallucinogenic prose, and a fantastical phenomenology explode in a combustible pressure cooker of a story, dense with mystery, unnamable pain, and startling resilience. 
  • Nadia Ibrashi’s “The Fetishist” uncovers humor, humanity, and even a bit of honor in areas of society and psychology—a man finding romance through a foot fetish—that might otherwise be dismissed as trivial or misunderstood as bizarre. Her ability to delve deeply and reveal generously is a gift to both her characters and readers.
  • The portrait that Geoffrey Philp paints of a Haitian academic in Miami seeking dignity and recognition in “The Professor” is so vivid, so caring, so immediate that the story feels more like an encounter with a real person going through actual late phases than a work of fiction.
  • Paul Ocampo’s “Venus de Milo” uses the vicissitudes and variegated personas key to a culture—here, a Filipino family in the United States—to tell a quiet story of contradictory emotions and unconditional loyalties that bend a daughter as she reflects on her relationship with her mother.
  • Bethany Fine’s epic poem, “Grief Eater,” looks at mourning, annihilation anxiety, and anguish in revelatory, confrontational, and ultimately curative ways. The imagery and insights steer clear of the maudlin, cliché, and melodramatic, and instead proffer the potent promises of poetry—to enrich and to heal.
  • Michael Carroll’s memoir, “My 2016,” reveals in intimate detail the doubts, anxieties, and discoveries of a gay man as he wrestles with aging, codependency, competing and shifting priorities, and the complexities of an open marriage to a queer literary pioneer.

 

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