Welcome to Issue 13: Summer 2020

Dear, Dear, Readers–

What a mess everything has been. I went back and read my welcome note from our Spring Issue, published at the beginning of May. In it, I expressed worry, but also gratitude that my family and I could stay home and shelter in place from the coronavirus. I did not know that by the end of the month, soon after my partner went back to work (he has a job that cannot be done from home), we would all have the virus. My kids and I cried when he got his diagnosis, and I got my own diagnosis soon after. We were terrified and felt awful for several weeks, but luckily, we recovered without hospitalization, and the kids only had mild symptoms. I want to acknowledge that many of you are dealing with sickness or loss of loved ones, and simply say that my heart goes out to you. There aren’t really words, but that’s why we keep writing. . .

As so many of you have experienced, it’s extremely difficult working from home (in my case, teaching online) with the kids at home and then dealing with sickness. I decided to not teach this summer–just be with them, work on my own poems and on The Indianapolis Review. For my mental health, I’m glad that I did this!

However, I want to add that I normally would take more time to work on a fundraiser to pay our website fees, which are $300–I like to create a sticker or shirt or something to sell, but I just have not had the wherewithal to do that. That being said, if you would like to contribute to help us pay the cost of our web fees, you can donate via paypal. We greatly appreciate it! No donation is too small!

Corresponding with the poets and artists who so generously contribute to this journal has been one of the only things connecting me to life beyond my little apartment and family, and for that I am so grateful. Please check out my interview with Bloomington based poet, Nancy Chen Long, who also contributed a new poem to this issue! I am always truly amazed by how much great work comes our way. It makes me think of some of the larger journals (perhaps one that has come under fire lately, ahem) who may not have even been looking in their ‘slush pile’ unless they recognized a person who was well known already. I want to acknowledge all the poets who keep submitting your work and keep at this, despite all the infinite struggles out there, and I especially appreciate everyone who believes in our little journal!

I’m also feeling especially grateful for the incredible artists that we feature at our journal. We reached out to local Black artists who participated in the Murals for Racial Justice Project this summer, and we’re so lucky that we have contributors from that project represented here in this issue! Indianapolis truly is home to so much talent! The Murals for Racial Justice Project began when protests for the Black Lives Matter movement were intensifying this summer, and much of downtown Indianapolis was boarded up to protect businesses. This led to an initiative for Black artists to paint these essentially blank canvases and use the space to combat racism.

To be clear, The Indianapolis Review has always had, as part of our mission, a goal to elevate Black art and writing, especially by local artists and writers. We always invite Black artists and writers to submit work any time submissions are open, no need for ‘special’ issues or calls.

I keep thinking back to a piece that we published last fall by The Indianapolis Youth Poet Laureate, Alyssa Gaines, the poem, #Blacklivesmatter. I urge everyone to read this, especially if you are a White person who doesn’t understand the Black Lives Matter movement or why things like the confederate flag and All Lives Matter are offensive. This poem very generously unpacks these concepts. The protection of Black life is something that is absolutely personal and of utmost importance to me and members of our masthead, and I will state that you should be aware of that if you are submitting to this journal.

With all that being said (somehow my Welcome notes have been getting very long these days), I wish you all good physical and mental health. I hope you enjoy this issue!


Natalie Solmer
Editor In Chief
The Indianapolis Review

Indianapolis, July 2020

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