June 26, 2020

Foothill Feature: Black Lives Matter

At Foothill Poetry Journal, the voices of Black poets are a priority. Below, our editors offer their words as a statement of solidarity and as a rededication to celebrating Black voices.

As a poetry and literature lover, I am incredibly indebted to Black artists, who have taught me the uses and limits of language to reveal the unknown, the think the unthought, and to tell stories that have been systematically obscured from view. As an editor of Foothill Poetry Journal, I hope that we can offer a space for graduate students, and especially Black students, to explore, demonstrate and celebrate their poetic voices. These voices make poetry better, and they make our journal better. I’m glad that we are recommitting ourselves to seeking out and publishing work by Black poets.
—Lilly Fisher

Black Lives Matter. And it needs to be forcefully asserted because, all too often, this truth hasn’t been honored. This doesn’t negate the importance of other lives. Life is mostly a limited commodity only because of human actions. We can work together to change this.
—Brock Rustin

The murder of Black folks is the most atrocious form of violence that is a result of systematic oppression, bigotry, and racism. However, this violence is pervasive through all aspects of our society: poetry and literature included. We are dedicated to work to combat this violence by celebrating Black voices, continuing to educate ourselves, and championing the stories Black folks have to tell. Black poetry matters. Black Lives Matter. We stand with you.
—Emily Schuck

As an editor of Foothill Poetry Journal, I am committed to amplifying black poetic voices. Poetry flounders as a genre without the works of Black poets. Our journal is proud to provide a platform for emerging graduate student poets and will continue to strive for a diverse journal that highlights the works of all people of color. Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter.
—Jordan Wheatley

Black Lives Matter is the movement for good in our time. The state of our government, and especially its law enforcement regimes, has existed unrestrained and unabashedly racist for too long. I fully support and stand beside those fighting for justice in their communities and against police brutality. I commit to uplifting amazing and diverse poetic voices.
—Cassady O’Reilly-Hahn

Now and always, Black Lives Matter. Black poets matter, and their voices deserve to be heard.
—Hannah Schultz

The literary world and academia are guilty of not prizing the work and scholarship of Black poets and thinkers for what they are worth—if that were the case, English departments and the publishing world would look very, very different. If you are for Black lives, you are for Black poets. If you are for Black poets, there are actionable steps to take in whatever institutions you are a part of to support them.
—Stacey Park

Part of the reason poetry and literary journals are so important is because they, oftentimes, function as the gatekeepers of scholarly opinion and new poetic works. As an assistant editor at Foothill, I am proud to be a part of team that acknowledges and celebrates marginalized and oppressed voices. I resolutely stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and persistently uplift Black voices in both my scholarly and personal life.
—Lauren McKinney

For more on literary parity, check out our other blogs on reading and buying books by Black poets, parity in literary awards, and a VIDA count of the Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards.