Behind the Issue: Sinister Wisdom 107 / Black Lesbians

01/14/2018 05:03 pm ET

We are living in the midst of an extraordinary renaissance of literary work by lesbian / queer women of color. It is not only my reading practices, not only what work captures my attention everyday; everywhere some of the most powerful literary productions are by queer women of color and by lesbians of color. Queer women of color and lesbians of color are winning top literary prizes, gaining recognition in and outside of LGBTQ communities, and gathering new audiences of all ages, all genders, all sexual orientations. This issue of Sinister Wisdom, Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution!, expertly curated by JP Howard and Amber Atiya, two extraordinary poets in their own right, reflects and celebrates that reality. This issue lifts up the voices of African-American lesbians for us all to hear, see, and know.

Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution! gathers together new writing by an array of emerging and established black lesbian and queer women writers. I use both phrases, lesbian and queer women, intentionally. While lesbian describes most closely my sexual orientation and erotic experiences, women are, as always, remaking language to capture, reflect, and inspire new modes of being in the world. Lesbian, queer, butch, femme, trans, affectionate, erotic, masculine of center. Women use all of these words in various combinations to describe their lives and experiences in the world. Sinister Wisdom has space for multiple forms of language and multiple experiences that collectively become our sinister wisdoms. This issue invites us all as readers, thinkers, activists, and cultural workers to engage in meaningful and productive ways with the voices and works of African-American lesbians as they write and imagine new worlds.

Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution! Edited by JP Howard and Amber Atiya
Sinister Wisdom 107 Cover (photo by Akinfe Fatou)
Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution! Edited by JP Howard and Amber Atiya

Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution! joins a number of past issues of the journal curated by and about lesbians of color. Nivea Castro and Geny Cabral edited Sinister Wisdom 97: Out Latina Lesbians, which expanded the voices from Sinister Wisdom 74: Latina Lesbians. (Sinister Wisdom 97 is out of print but available as an ebook for interested readers). Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution! continues conversations from Sinister Wisdom 47: Tellin It Like It Is, edited by a collective of lesbians of color. (Sinister Wisdom 47 is available individually or as a part of the Tellin It package through the Sinister Wisdom website). These special issues highlight writings by lesbians of color and consolidate racial-ethnic lesbian identities. In addition to these special issues, Sinister Wisdom regularly publishes work by lesbians of color—and guest editors in the past and the future include a number of lesbians of color. (Want to guest edit? Just email me with a proposal!) Imagining and creating a multicultural lesbian journal is the womandate of Sinister Wisdom. Reading these works in this issue is bliss.

(P.S. Stay tuned for an interview with editor JP Howard about this very special issue!)

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