Welcome to K'in!
A Literary Journal Celebrating the Range and Diversity of Voices Under Our One Sun
Issue 3 – May 2019
As I write this, less than ten minutes ago, another mass shooting is being reported to have taken place, this time in Baltimore, and this only a day after the shooting at the Chabad of Poway in San Diego, taking place six months to the day since the attack at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, and just weeks since the horror of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, and just over a month since the tragedy at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On April 14, 2019, the New York Times reports, “Through April 10, the archive had recorded 80 incidents in the United States this year, with at least 103 people killed and 284 wounded. Last year’s numbers were 340 mass shootings—an average of nearly one a day—with at least 373 deaths and 1,347 wounded.”
How can I—how can any of us—think about stories, about poetry, in the face of this ongoing heartbreak? How can art matter?
I tell my students that, for me personally, the purpose of all art is to allow one human being to look across the room, across time, across all the lines that divide us, and to say, I see you; I hear you; you are not alone. I think art, that single voice singing out, in joy, in pain, in anger, is at the heart of what we need.
I believe that the insistence art makes by its very existence—that we see each other, that we hear each other, that every voice, every story, every person matters—is not only needed, but integral, crucial, to our survival. I would argue that art, the risk we take in the making of art, matters more now than ever.
And this is why I am grateful beyond words to the writers who are granting us the privilege of sharing their work here in Issue 3 of K'in. Not only is the work here honest and loving and beautiful, it also rings with the pain, the despair, and the rage of our times.
Naomie Jean-Pierre, in her stunning “Two Apologetics for Brown Girls,” gives us space to feel that pain and anger: “we have been accused of hardness./ and to my knowledge, the latter is true./we rinse out our anger./we iron pain./we are micromanagers of our brief /and dangerous times...”
Kay Bell, in “Magic (for Cynthia Cruz),” speaks to our grief, to what feels like the growing madness around us: “And as you cradled your losses/& formed screaming walls/into mad speeches,/ the magic of the untamed/speak to me.”
And in all of it—the fiction, the poetry, the creative nonfiction, the voices of the amazing young writers—in all of it, we also see and feel the reverence, the complicated awe, of being human in these times, as Maria Guillen reminds us, in “Fragments from a Seasonally Depressed Immigrant Daughter,” when she writes: “but listen. Their language/is still mine/and yours.”
Welcome. We’re glad you’re here. We need you. We all need each other if we are to survive.