What I remember most, when the night was longest and darkest, was the fesenjān and poetry. For what could be better, as my Persian friends would say, than pomegranate molasses and Hafez? And in the midst of being fed and read one’s fate, little acts of mercy had steadily rippled into hope.
In the light of day, we couldn’t be more disparate, my friends and I. Save that we are non-native English speakers, exercising the language of kindness. To be kind is to be accepting; to be welcoming of strangers (as we were once welcomed); and to feel empathy when faced with someone else’s hopelessness.
And what is hopelessness but a passenger wandering a ship after being refused the right to dock; it is the child we didn’t help when it is within our power to do so; it is all of us at one point, when we didn’t matter and our misfortunes were rendered inconsequential…(Fellowship Magazine, January 2016).
The Boatman is moving “Beyond Homeland.”
After 16 years and 44 issues where we featured works relating to our Filipino heritage, OOV is “navigating” out of archipelagic waters to venture into the “open sea.”
Coming out of our sabbatical year, we open our 45th issue with the theme Refugees, and with images for our Frontispiece and Poetry Page from Nanette G. Villanueva’s personal collection. Nanette G. Villanueva is a Filipino-American Visual Artist/Photographer/Poet who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her portrait sketches were featured in OOV Issue 43.
In Poems, we feature works by Alma Anonas-Carpio, Angelina M. Claver, Eileen R. Tabios, Reme Grefalda, 2015 OOV Resident Poet Edgar Bacong, and Carlos Bulosan’s entry from Susan Evangelista’s Anthology, Carlos Bulosan and His Poetry, 1985.
In Essays, we feature Terry Hong’s interview with Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, as well as excerpts from former Japanese American internee Susan Yamamura’s memoir Camp 1942 and the Rest of My Life, and Russian political refugee Svetlana Kim’s White Pearl and I. We thank Charles Mudede for granting permission to reprint “With a Dash of Dostoevsky and a Fistful of Fukuyama, the Arty, Four-Hour-Long Filipino Epic Norte, the End of History Actually Makes You Wish It Were Longer.” We are also grateful to Pira Sudham for his generosity in offering a free download of “A Guttersnipe,” and Alex Purugganan for his short story, “The Devoured.” Last but not least, we present a Portrait of Martial Artist-Poet Michele Bautista in “Kali’s Blade: An Interview.”
We dedicate this issue to our late colleague Kathleen Burkhalter. Kathleen was our bright light, ever gracious and vibrant. She initially joined OOV as an Editorial Intern and then as Facebook Editor in 2012. We are forever grateful for the time she spent with us. In celebration of Kathleen, we are reprinting her short story, “The Cave and the Bell.”
At the end of the day, we find we’re not so different — merely a collection of breaths and breastbone, counting all the lives we saved.
San Francisco, CA