A Downloadable PDF version of the June 2020 Special Edition is available Here.
Welcome to our June 2020 Special Edition of River City Poetry
I am so grateful to our community of poets and readers during this strange time. June 2020 felt cataclysmic. COVID19 numbers continue to increase. Protests against police brutality erupted the world over. When I put out the a call for submissions, I didn’t expect that so many people would want to be involved, especially as we only accepted submissions for two weeks. The result captured something profound: the frustration, the grief, the ugly isolation and loneliness.
We at River City Poetry believe that Black Lives Matter, and that in supporting diverse voices and diverse experiences, we can all be better people. We value our BIPOC readers and contributors. We value LGBQ+ narratives, and we acknowledge that there has been a long-standing practice to ignore/silence the queer story, the brown story, the immigrant story, the native story, the nonwhite narrative. We stand against racism and the systemic silencing of black voices–especially by “literary” journals. We believe in Poetry Worth Sharing from folx that get shut out from other platforms. We celebrate the life-affirming power of poetry and the empowerment of voice.
What were we looking for? Thematically, we were focused on JUNE–what were people thinking about? What were people experiencing both inside and out?
Whether it related to protecting family from infection OR fighting for loved ones by protesting, we wanted work from RIGHT NOW, the more recent, the better.
We wanted to focus on Wichita and Kansas voices for this particular issue, and we wanted to share new work from new writers, too. This was about recording some of our collective experiences in a way that preserved this moment in time.
A note about this issue. We have traditionally maintained a very simplified lay-out—each issue included poets sharing their work in alphabetical order. While it might make sense to have these poems in this special issue shared in a more curated fashion, with poems sorted by topic, we decided to stick with alpha-order by poet, as events also seemed to overlap through the month, and poets submitted work that ran the gamut.
Ultimately, this issue was also a little self-serving. I, too, as a poet, struggled to make sense. I continue to struggle. I included some of my own poems, something I wouldn’t normally do. But I’m part of this community too. And creating the timeline on the following pages also allowed me to unpack so many events as discrete moments in time.
As always, we at River City Poetry are so grateful for our readers and contributing poets.