Bacopa Literary Review

Writers Alliance of Gainesville's international print journal in its 8th year -- 2017 cover design by Dancing Ghost Productions -- This blog cited among Top Literary Blogs for Writers and Publishing Agents -- To read examples of the quality of work we seek, click for flash, poetry, fiction, or nonfiction

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bacopa Literary Review 2017: From the Editor

The intersection of arts and political activism are two fields defined by a shared focus of creating engagement that shifts boundaries, changes relationships and creates new paradigms... a space where valuable insight can be found through reflection and sharing.
~ Art and Politics, The Power of Creativity and Activism Across the Globe," Annette Blum, Huffington Post, THE BLOG, 03/21/2016.

We live in an age of environmental concerns, political dissent, divisiveness, war, discrimination, and suffering made personal by instant internet access. No wonder poets, writers, and artists seek meaning and provide inspiration through their creative efforts. Certainly our 2017 contributors have rendered art that will bring readers inside life's deepest truths.

Delving first into the deeper blues, whether reading of the unknown lost, the well-known, or those known only to our writers--fathers, mothers, siblings, children, friends--you'll wonder if your heart's response is more joy or sorrow or a mix of both. Omit the sparrow and the thought / of bird remains. . . So it is with loss, writes Sally Zakariya. (Click here and scroll down to "Up From the Tropics" to see "Theory of Omission," from which these lines are borrowed.)

Exploring life's unexpected bits of sweetness, we admire the wild bite of stars, hug a baby close against fears of an unknown future, heal addiction in our dreams, recall as children how we were good help even though we also peed in the family pool, remember vividly such characters as Stephanie Dickinson's Velma, whose voice was a laughing gull's.

We still believe in love, that feeling every time you dazzle in the shine of someone new, being touched as if our scars are beautiful, even when love is like a blade, when we fear we might drown, when we pay a fine, when we ponder ways to lose a guy/girl. And we hope, with Tamara Adelman, that being alone with a lover in nature will provide some reassurances.

Our contributors, at liberty to sink caution, bemoan news that's about what sells, lying to ourselves while others wake up to violent explosions. They grieve coming-out children who hear echoes of "abomination," challenge the message for young girls to be patient and pretty and sending boys to war who would rather be foraging for berries. Then a reprieve in "The Soloist" by Andrew Brown: What would divide us meets in her radiant throat.

These writers and poets are concerned about earth's well-being, the only home you ever knew. In a world that's ending, just once more, as though any generation could avoid its end by consuming the next, mothers carry their children through waist-high water, streets full of soda cans and road signs, trees uprooted like a jumble of giant pick-up sticks. Still, some believe this is only a test. We are lulled by the blue rush of the surf and we nail old shoes in trees for homeless birds to live in. If anyone felt desire, Clif Mason assures us, the wind would blow again.

The final section features work where buzzing of bumblebees is the soundtrack, their honey a sovereign remedy, a muffle-hush falling when mountains breathe mist. While driving in boiling turnpike traffic we see: Suddenly--sheep!  We feel with each bloom its thin green legs, see hummingbirds careen in plein air, watch the powdery glitter of snow. We believe, with Jim Johnston, that the seeds of courage are planted in darkness, and from there they must grow. . . if we do not want to call the darkness home.

May the artful reflections of contributors to Bacopa Literary Review 2017 bring you valuable insights in our tumultuous times.

Mary Bast
Editor in Chief
Bacopa Literary Review

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Against the Storm: We Are Dazzled by Love

by Editor in Chief Mary Bast
The question of whether climate change "caused" any particular weather event is the wrong one; instead, we must probe how climate change alters extreme weather. Aside from the warming atmosphere, rising sea levels and surface ocean warming have likely contributed to the impact of both Irma and Harvey. Dann Mitchell, NERC Research Fellow at the University of Bristol's Cabot Institute.
Here in Gainesville, Florida, as we prepare for the impact of Irma, it's difficult to concentrate on anything. And yet it seems the perfect time to reiterate our theme of the intersection of art and activism, time to remember that art "mirrors the aesthetic standard of the day and also provides a window into the historic context of the time." A vital part of that context is the element of love, stories of human connection, of friendship, helping, and heroism amidst the storms.

I had hurt my back carrying bags of canned food in from the car and was dreading bringing in everything from the patio; at that moment there was a knock on the door and a member of our maintenance team brought in everything for me. One of my friends was shopping for plywood to board up the window in her 95-year-old mother's room when she noticed two young men who live near her; they returned with her and helped her board up the window. I read about a woman who needed a generator for her father's oxygen machine in case their power fails; the man who had just picked up the last generator gave her his, and she fell into his arms, weeping.

We at Bacopa Literary Review believe in love, we love Ellaraine Lockie's poem "In the Friendship Lab," featured in our 2017 issue, and we invite you to remember the power of love, "every time you dazzle in the shine of someone new . . .
If it overflows, be like the flower it waters
when you meet someone worth unfolding for . . ."

More about the intersection of art and activism to follow.