“What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself — a Black woman warrior poet doing my work — come to ask you, are you doing yours?”

Audre Lorde spoke these words on a Lesbian and Literature Panel at the MLA Conference in December of 1977. Just shy of forty years later, we are still surrounded by worldwide systems of oppression and the silences that accompany them. For this second part of our Occupying Va series (HR #86, to be published in late spring 2017), the Hawai‘i Review is asking you to consider the in-between spaces within yourself. Where are your crossroads and intersections, and what are the words you need in this especially complex time? We are seeking new fiction and poetry that are both personal and political, transforming silences into language and real change in the world. We are also opening an expansive nonfiction category to include lyric essays and hybrid works that bend genre categories.

As we enter a frightening new American presidency, as Empire everywhere continues to dispossess and exile Native and othered peoples and people of color, we ask that you remember Lorde’s words that “it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence.” This new year, break your silences with us. 

We are currently accepting original artwork and photography for inclusion in HR Online. We strongly prefer work that speaks to our "Occupying Va" theme in some way. Please submit a low-resolution JPEG file of your work (or multiple files in a ZIP), with a short cover letter and statement about the work if appropriate. If we select your artwork for publication, we will contact you for high-resolution files of the work.

Reviews will be published on a rolling basis on HR Online. We also accept reviews of local literary events, and even lesson plans for books that have worked well for you in the classroom. We encourage experimentation with the genre of "the review," and are less interested in how the NYT might handle it than we are in how a local community member might engage in what's being written and discussed on the islands.