Issue: Reimagining / Nonfiction / Poetry

Notes by Kamden Hilliard



here are some ways i’ve been trying 2 read & make & read & make:

  • quietly / silently [there’s a diff here, usage rules, but in rejection of colonized creative space, i’m finna eschew mosta these rules, tbqFh]
  • w all my dirty lil’ tongues: English, ytppo english, telephone english, i got gud credit englishi still listen Nas english, non-binary english, broke spanish-chinese, gay english, gayeeeeeeeeeeeee english, anxiety, baroque, latinate, Hawaiian pidgin english, CAVE (Caucasian American Vernacular English) 1
  • v well hydrated / undrugged / less drunk / more limberly / considering the implicit feminism of Kim Possible & the radical queerness of these legs i’ve chained myself 2, willingly, this time
  • gettin my ass paid / respected [it is a painful feature of indie lit that we always askin for f a v o r s / or some free shit / i do it 2 4 several pubs / but i’m trying 2 value myself & my work in a more coherent way]

i’ve been making a thing called Educational History? / it is poems, fragments of computer code, formal exercises, 12/10 pettiness / & keeping me alive. this ain’t a self-promo, tho gotsta let niggas kno, it’s gonna b lit, but what i’d lyk 2 consider is a work that serves as engine.

any depressive or manic or schizo (3/3, bb) can account 4 the weight gained, showerless episodic buzz. even the sufficiently able among us know how the world can sit on the shoulder a bit 2 long. so drugs should shock no1. any system creates its bottlenecks of deviance. some of this deviance is terrible, lol. but some of it, some of it, is full of light & humor, after all, as  Morgan Parker might note, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce  2

Parker’s approach & thinking thru the poetic space has helped me decode that terribly colonized notion that poetry is not therapy / & if ya need therapy take ya ass 2 therapy. that’s some white shit. some shit, generally. it’s the same logic that lead a white faculty member 2 lead a workshop on Rankine’s Citizen & discuss L A N G U A G E, lol. or the logic that allows Rattle Magazine 2 publish a poem for “Donald Trump & other lonely people”. this shan’t b a space interested in free speech 4 the sake of free speech, but free speech as a means of access 2 loving, subversive cultural formation.

how can these cultural formations look? how can they construct themselves? here are some literary spaces doing the work, imo: ApogeeLana TurnerVinyl Poetry / YesYes BooksAlice James BooksSibling Rivalry PressVONACallalooLambda Literary, & mad others i haven’t found yet! & there’s a gud, forgetful magic: the innanet! the digital space has offered entirely nu possibilities 4 what publishing, kinship, creation, & sharing can-should-would-will do! platforms lyk Medium or Twine offer means for storytelling & connection especially helpful 2 the disenfranchised maker of things. how fitting, 4 peoples displaced, persecuted, hunted, fragmented, landless, placeless, 2 find decolonized creation in the digital space. this is one of the many brilliances of the JFR project. I’ve never met Monica, but consider her kindred.

the innanet offers folx, lyk ya grrl, who found [find] themselves alone & w/o immediate literary community, ways 2 connect w beautiful, challenging, engaging space. & that’s what we should b about, i feel. y else play this publishing game? why else go outside? or clubbing? at peak depression my most major social interactions were nighttime-bingey affairs, but i showered. i knew what it might mean 2 b with or even just near another person / 2 see a smile. so now, poetry is a reason 2 shower. 2 resist. 2 defend a community i love & value. 2 question question question.

bc it’s that timea year, i’ve been pounding out proposals, statements of purpose, & the lyk. i keep returning 2 a distinction, a question of usage:


(US rigor)


  • 1[mass noun] The quality of being extremely thorough & careful.
  1. 1.1 Severity or strictness.

1.2 Harsh & demanding conditions.

  1. ‘the rigours of a harsh winter’3

but this isn’t what i mean when i want. i want, as Big Daddy Baldwin observes in Notes of a Native Son, 2 “insist on the right 2 criticize [] perpetually.” not in a Royal Tenenbaums kinna way, lol, but in a way that localizes intellectual & spiritual intensity in a place of luv & respect. as our problematic fave, Drake, would do: I’m just sayin’ you could do better / Tell me have you heard that lately?


gossip grrl

TL;DR: care 4 ya self & care 4 ya community

ADDENDUM: also super hot 4 Tommy Pico & Robert Andrew Perez Jr.’s nu werk from Birds LLC & Omnidawn / talk about doin it ryt!

  1. shoutout  Hanna Matsunaga on this here tongue
  2. the namea her 4thcumming collection 2 Tin House ❤
  3. lol, thx, OED, ytppo & professors luhh yu



kamheadshot Kamden Hilliard reads for Gigantic Sequins, edits Jellyfish Magazine, and goes by Kam. They got love from The NFAA, The Ucross Foundation, VSC, Lambda Literary, and Callaloo. The author of two chapbooks: DISTRESS TOLERANCE (Magic Helicopter Press, 2016) and PERCEIVED DISTANCE FROM IMPACT (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), Kam stays busy. Find their poems and essays in The Black Warrior Review, West Branch, Muzzle Magazine, The Hawaii Review, and other sunspots.