We are excited to release our inaugural online issue—and you’ll notice a feature right away, and that is, we made the decision to divide Issue 6 into many “episodes” over a period of time. Think of it like a Netflix drama. Or perhaps more precise, like a pre–Netflix television series on cable, where you must wait for the next installment with bated breath. Whatever your preferred metaphor, the germ of this idea is simple. For Issue 6, we accepted approximately thirty pieces of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. As had been our heretofore process, we wrote rich letters to all accepted contributors and switched gears from readers to production staff. Unlike previous iterations, we had already determined we would no longer be in print. Printed matter tends to languish, only being savored by the few. This is an unfortunate reality to any paper effort and one struggle we decided was an unnecessary one to continue battle. Why vote once when you can vote twice? So we compromised on our desire for the physical object by announcing our new project, TAR Chapbook Series. We would create beautiful, small-print runs of already-immaculate chapbooks, establishing the urgency of artifact; we would create a gorgeous and completely visible online platform for our journal contributors, establishing the urgency of voice; and, with the money saved in not printing hundreds of issues, we would pay (albeit a nominal amount) all of our contributors. It’s a superb win on all fronts, we think, and we hope you feel this too
Now, onward the actual contents of Issue 6, episode 1. Our technologist, Jue Yang, worked tirelessly after many awesome conversations over the last few months with web designer extraordinaire Angela Protzman and myself to produce the looks and feels of the new interface. We wanted readers to feel entirely immersed in the experience of reading this innovative, often genre-melting work. And with this immersion, we did not want readers to feel at any point daunted by the mass quantity of extraordinary work (and to be sure, it is all extraordinary). That is the most essential of desideratum—our desire for others to truly engage the work, the internalize and meditate on art with space still to breathe. Think of it as a museum made up of many galleries, should the Netflix metaphor not be adequate (and of course, it’s not). In these lavender and orange and pink and green and blue rooms, we present you with our first episode’s contributors, Kofi Opam, Tafisha Edwards, Diane Exavier, Shauna Barbosa, Adrian Silbernagel, Theis Ørnthopf (translated by Julia Cohen and Jens Bjering), and Ruth Baumann. It is absolutely a curated house—each of these pieces travel our senses down the body’s viscera, the alien village, the intentional animal of our curiosities. As Kofi Opam tells us in their heartbreaking essay, “Dating Dysphoric,” “Let me tell you about bodies, and about blood.” “Take your bloodless / body back to bed and forget // you have a voice,” Tafisha Edwards seems to reply in “How to Drain the Brachial Artery.” To utter any self is to utter its opposite. To see the ramshackle is to speak its violence. The work in Episode 1 is exceptional and as Shauna Barbosa writes in “Self on a First Date, “Get as close as you possibly can.”
We hope you enjoy this first episode. Go ahead and scroll through from beginning to end. If you’re on a mobile device, you can simply swipe to the right or left to go to the next entry. There are many more episodes to come, with voices from the likes of Stacy Parker Le Melle, Claudia Cortese, Cate Peebles, Julie Marie Wade and Denise Duhamel, Toby Altman, and many, many more.
Founding Editor and Publisher of The Atlas Review