Safia Elhillo


"Now more than ever" might be one of my least favorite expressions of all time. Particularly in this moment, when a person of color says something, when a Muslim says something, when a woman says something, when an immigrant or a child of immigrants says something, it is as if no one from these communities had ever spoken at any time before this, had ever done or said anything significant until the world started seeing us as hunted. "Now more than ever," when people say it about our poetry, reduces our poetry to the function of facing out to the world and humanizing us, of making them love our work so they feel better about their roles and silences and benefits in the systems and worlds that hunt us. 

The poems in this issue face inward. The poets in this issue, the poems in this issue, create and populate worlds better than the one failing outside. They celebrate and they mourn and they are striking in their intimacy, in their tenderness. They are timely, sure, okay, but also they are ungovernable. They are boundless, unbeholden to the times and their corresponding atrocities, even when responding to them. The times didn't make these poems important—the fact of these poets, their voices, their rigor, their curiosity—that is what makes these poems important, now and forever.