I would like to begin my first letter as an editor by thanking the people who made this magazine possible. Along with prose editor Dan McDermott and designer Katya Guseva, I’d like to express immense gratitude to Speak's advisors: Sven Birkerts, who was my professor and mentor at the Bennington Writing Seminars. Amit Chaudhuri, whose writing, music, and activism has always inspired me. Lavanya Shanbogue-Arvind, who encouraged me through times of uncertainty. And V. Hansmann, who runs Bennington Writers at Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village.
A word of gratitude, also, for Michael Autrey, who was guest poetry editor for this first issue, as well as a warm welcome to Smita Sahay—co-editor of the anthology Veils, Halos and Shackles, International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women—who will be our poetry editor for subsequent issues.
Now is a time of movements: #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, #oscarssowhite, #takeaknee, #youaintnomuslimbruv, #stopfundinghate, #womensmarch, #deleteuber, #ham4all, #puberme, #aintnocindrella, #iwillspeakup, #monumentsforall. I’m stunned and outraged and every day I seek out clarity amidst all this noise. And it’s with a heart full of uncertainty that Speak begins. This magazine aims to give space to those voices that make a difference in the way we navigate our lives. Voices unafraid, original, edgy, and authentic. Voices from the margins, voices from the center, voices from around the world. This first issue is a humble and imperfect start, but it is a start nonetheless. In this beginning there is hope and sometimes that is a good place to be.