On June 12, 2016 a man who didn’t know that any god who sanctions hatred, prejudice, war, and killing the innocent other is a false god, any man who claims to speak for that false god is a false prophet, and any person who kills in the name of that false god is an ignorant and pathetic pawn, used a weapon the asshats at the NRA still think is our god given right to own, to end the life of 49 people and injure 53 more. But that’s not the end of the story, is it? It never is. The amount of people whose lives have been altered or outright destroyed over this senseless, disgusting, infuriating, affront to humanity is hard to estimate. And still our government does nothing.
Below are the names of the 49 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters taken from us in Orlando, along with a touching memorial by the people at the Human Rights Campaign who remind us:
For too long, a toxic combination of anti-LGBTQ hate and easy access to guns has put LGBTQ people at disproportionate risk of violence and murder. On June 12, forty-nine innocent people -- most of them Latinx -- were killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando simply because of who they were. It's on all of us to keep their memories alive, and to ensure part of their legacy becomes meaningful action to end hate violence. Join the Human Rights Campaign and urge your legislator to support legislation that will ensure LGBTQ people are safe and equal in every community and find out how to support the survivors and families of the Orlando victims.
With love to their families:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Amanda Alvear, 25; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Cory James Connell, 21; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Frank Hernandez, 27; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25; Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Kimberly Morris, 37; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25; Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50; Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 along with 53 others who were injured.
May they never be forgotten.
And with that, we pick up the pieces and do what we know. Around here it means we kick this pig and see what it’ll do.
A Poetry Congeries with John Hoppenthaler delivers stunning new work by Paula Closson Buck, Alex Lemon, Jennifer Franklin, Mary Moore, Adam Sheffler, and Hannah Taggart. Additionally, we’ve got six new poems and a knockout interview with John’s featured poet this month, the brilliant Ruth Awad. There is some lovely, life-affirming work in this poetry of these seven authors, and we are grateful to have them with us this month. And don’t miss John’s preface wherein he talks about poetry on the road and the devastation caused by flooding here in West Virginia, the home of Connotation Press.
Our off-the-grid, book reviewing librarian Julia Bouwsma brings us her take on Aracelis Girmay’s newest collection, the black maria. She writes, “The [t]he black maria, the most recent collection by Aracalis Girmay, recipient of the 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry, is a harrowing journey through, and across, the sea and memory—a fractured and tidal unfolding that explores African diasporic histories, as well as the searing legacy of racism within the United States. Julia gives this collection high marks and if the book is a much a pleasure to read as the review, I'm in. Great job, Julia!
Finally, A Drinker with a Wine Problem, by John Turi takes a long pull off a 2010 bottle of Three Sisters Chardonnay by the good people at the Marcassin winery and comes up with good marks all ‘round. In this review John also takes a little departure with a nod to his creative writing soul, and it’s a blast to read. Enjoy!
As is the custom here, I’ll remind you that on the 15th our Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction columns launch, and that’ll complete our new offerings for Volume VII. We’ll run a retrospective in August, and then we’ll be back with Volume VIII in September.
And finally, this issue of Connotation Press is dedicated to all the victims of violence around the world, to those who continue to strive to make this life better for all of us, and to the hope for a free and open, loving and safe tomorrow. Please.
Connotation Press: Love. Only love. Just love.
Publisher, Founding Editor-in-Chief