Spring 2016: The Queer Issue

Letter from the Editor

We’d never done a Queer Issue before. I wanted to do one. I knew other editors wanted to do one. Why now?

Many reasons. One: I am leaving. After eight years of editing Creative Nonfiction at The Citron Review, which founded by Citron Alum Aaron Gansky, I’ve decided that my other work is taking up my time. But before I left I wanted to do something that challenged the limitations of literary journals and publications at large: I wanted to prioritize queer authors the way that PANK did in 2013 and 2014 and expand our editorial scope by bringing in queer editors to help us do that.

I wanted to hear queer voices echo louder than any other voices as I stepped down.

And since The Citron Review was born out of Antioch University whose mission statement is Social Justice, it made perfect sense to me—perfect sense to all of us.

How do we name and embrace our marginalized identities, our unique sexualities and our labels? We draw upon our lived experiences to build a collective analysis of systemic injustice, organize together for change and rebel against systems in place. “Queer” implies boundedness and fluidity. It implies other, it implies together.

It implies us and we.

To borrow from writer, teacher, performer, activist Steve Yelvington-Jones:

“Queer” emerges as an anti-identity identity. An identity or identities that embraces (embrace) its (their) own instability. An identity that (at its best) acknowledges the upside downers of “identity politics”—to name our experiences, to name oppression, to use those experiences as the basis for articulating a vision for bold queer social change—while also challenging essentialism, challenging rigid identities, and perhaps even more profoundly, challenging the very system through which our identities have been named as “other.’

Queer redirects scrutiny onto those systems of classification. Queer picks at “normal’ like a scab, then eats it. Queer negates labels or else queer embraces many labels. Queer asks what the fuck is a label anyway?”

My favorite authors of Creative Nonfiction make me pay attention to my denial and my longings. They capture a movie of my fears, losses, joys and awe in a way that I can taste and touch.

They cause me to pause and reorganize my thinking—touch every single limitation and vanish it. I had been following Shannon Barber’s Tumblr page and blog for years and I noticed how passionate she was about peeling away the skin of limitations and her willingness to write about sticky things like sadness, rejection and sex and so I asked her to edit this Queer Issue for us. I’ve also long admired Milcah Orbacedo’s work in the literary, gender non-conforming and sex work community. Their prose reveals a unique evolved openness and bravery that contains a type of tenderness I find irresistible. And so I asked Milcah Orbacedo and Shannon Barber if they would step in and edit with me for Creative Nonfiction for my last issue – The Queer Issue.

Milcah and Shannon – along with Jenny Factor, guest editor for poetry, and Seth Fischer, guest fiction editor – have included some notes on their top choices. In our first ever Queer Issue, we have brought you selections from all our guest editors as diverse as a mix of disco, funk and house; a dark, gritty playful beat in form, concept and logic. They chose pieces that welcome mixed messages and blurry Sapphic salaciousness— essays, stories, and poems whose wicked words would not loosen their grip on our hearts.

We hope you are forever changed as a result of reading these pieces, and can hear their echoes too.

~Antonia Crane


Table of Contents

Guest Editors
Notes on The Queer Issue Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
Jeffrey Ricker
You Ride the Bus Fiction
Miah Jeffra
Make Sure to See the Exit Door Fiction
Nancy Conyers
The Interrogation Fiction
Deanna Ogle The Transit Fiction
Ariel Gore
My Breath Catches in My Skull Creative Nonfiction
Miah Jeffra Leaving a Mark Creative Nonfiction
Gwen Beatty I Think Creative Nonfiction
Ayla-Monic McKay The Things You’ve Learned Poetry
Mariano Zaro The Traveler Poetry
Mary Meriam
It Gets Better Poetry
Kenneth Pobo
Cardboard Jeff Poetry

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
5 months to go.

🍋 Instagram

Robert Carr’s “Anchor” is what happens when the tangible aspects of heritage are missing. The speaker is left holding a telephone cord and the remnants of his mother’s voice getting further away. A concise stack of images begin the poem, taking us back to a time when the simplicity of toys meant family. In Carr’s hands, the poem is rooted and rootless at the same time, and now I reflect on the rotary phone, heirlooms from old houses, and my people. -Eric Steineger Managing Editor/Senior #amreading #TheCitronReview #Spring2019Issue #10thanniversary #cheersto10years https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/anchor/
The Center, if it holds, requires the Hole, as if the Spiral were pressed in a vinyl disk. Set the heart of Nothing on the spindle and start the record round; "Record" by James B. Nicola #TheCitronReview #Spring2019 #amreading https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/record/
Marriage! That blessed arrangement! https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/white-wedding/ #amreading #microfiction #weddingstories
Now in our Spring Issue, Helen Chambers invites us to read now of forever hold our peace. https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/spring-wedding/ #amreading #microfiction #weddingstories
Knitters of the world, unite! "Turtles" is a needle-gripping flash from @kaelyhorton . March with us toward passionate prose. (Stitching now our handmade Spring 2019 Issue.) https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/turtles/ #amreading #flashfiction
Tornado of Flash Fiction Warning! https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/outside-of-oklahoma/ #amreading #Spring2019 #TheCitronReview #cheerstotenyears

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