I am delighted to introduce Silk Road’s Issue #17, Displaced: Redefining Home. Since its founding, Silk Road has been dedicated to publishing compelling and diverse voices and representing authors from around the globe. This issue features poets, memoirists, short story writers, translators, playwrights and artists capturing the complexity of existing within and outside of culture.
In “The Hummingbird,” fiction writer Polly Buckingham writes about the displacement of a girl who has traveled across the country, and, after being separated from her home for months, “she’d seemed to slip further and further into a dream state—one man replaced the next, one state replaced the next, one campground replaced the next, as if no matter what happened, her waking would erase everything.” In “The River,” Rajesh Reddy portrays a village ravaged by war and disease and speaks beautifully to both migration and the inevitable passage of time and the distance it creates. Erin Russell’s “Labyrinth of Gimal” portrays the power of narrative and words, the way that the lost City of Gimal emerges to her, profound and elusive, on the page.
In his powerful interview with Silk Road, Sunil Yapa, acclaimed author of Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, speaks to displacement as the search for home through narrative, empathy, and authenticity. Nonfiction writer, Peter Breyer, writes about the complexity of his travels in India as a Peace Corps volunteer, and his transformative experience as he discovers that those around him have taught him as much about life as he has imparted to them. Mary Wysong-Haeri’s “What Cannot Be Seen” delves into the complex and tragic experience of a pregnant woman torn between her allegiance to America, her love for her husband, and her opposition to the revolution in Iran. Donald Stang’s translation “Refugees” speaks to the heartbreaking cost of migration, and Dong Li’s “south-of-yangtze, a republic —before the grave of liu rushi” explores the demoralization of war and the desire to transcend boundaries, both physical and emotional.
Tara Ballard’s “Soil” is both a celebration of union and also an exploration of what remains unknown to those of us who reside in places vastly distinct from the struggles of those we love. Derek Otsuji’s “Comfort Food” is a powerful reflection on memory and longing, and Vedran Husić’s “Emigrant Psalm” explores the devastation of leaving your home when “a thread of your joy has broken from its loom.” Noel Slobada’s “Crossing the Delaware” explores the intersection between history and an uncertain present, while Trent Busch’s “Second Ending” investigates the limitations of language and human agency. Finally, J.R. Dawson’s one-act play, The Woman on the Rock, meditates thoughtfully on what it means to be a married, independent woman in politically radical times. In addition to these beautiful pieces, we are delighted to include artwork from artists including Raven Leilani, Jayne Marek, and Zoë Lintzeris.
Collectively, these pieces capture the complexities of migration, histories of displacement, and the struggle to retain, maintain, and celebrate culture. I am delighted to feature such a powerful collection of authors and literary work in this issue and hope that you, as readers, find Displaced as compelling and transformative as our editors and staff.
With gratitude and warm wishes,
Dr. Keya Mitra, Co-Editor in Chief