For Essex, with love  



Although I am more of an "imagist" than a "proper poet" at all, where I have hungered, where I have bent, and where I have been raised from kneeling, poetry has always lent length and fiber, grasps and ties, to those moments when I have stood, again.

Like so many of us who have faced down death, insanity, and other anguishes, I have found my hands, my voice, and my vision, through speaking and reading what has too long remained silent. With greatness of heart and the force of resistance, people of color, queers, and other despised peoples around the globe continue to discover, re-create, demand, and present the truth of our worlds to one another, through startling visual arts and indelible words.

Our first online issue of STANDARDS was dedicated, in admiration and respect, to our friend and loving colleague, Marlon T. Riggs. And, angered by the dearth of media attention given as her due to Audre Lorde, a national poet laureate, we included an extensive tribute to Audre's life, work, and passing.

In kind, this issue of STANDARDS is dedicated, with love, to Essex Hemphill -- a gift of wonder and strength whose poetry awoke a nation of dreamers, and who gave irritable insomniacs safety in the knowlege that, late at night, his words would always reach out to us, push us on. Essex wanted so much to see his out-of-print works available on the Internet, before he passed last November. With the help and kindness of his family, we are finally able to make strides toward delivering our promise to Essex and, as Steven Fullwood says in his tribute, I, too, know Essex can see us still, and continues to push us on.

But that isn't all. There won't be a cinematic or television documentary on some of the quieter warriors, the ones who, like Marlon, Audre, and Essex, have given us their blood and bone, before passing on. AIDS and cancer are debilitating our communities around the world, but the grandness of our poets lives on.

As a cancer survivor myself, this Introduction is posted not just to invite the reader into this issue of STANDARDS: along with our tenacious, unpaid staff, I wish to bring each of you closer to the worlds of writings that have made so many of us who we are today. Please find works by at least these few writers, and find your place in the home of their worlds.

Toni Cade Bambara
Joseph Beam
Melvin Dixon
Arturo Islas
Pat Parker

Each of these writers have passed, now walking with the ancestors. And their works, like those of every aspiring writer we hope to encourage, continue to speak truth to power.

Other poets with whom our readers may not be familiar, but who continue to model resistance in their works include:

Francisco Alarcón
Dorothy Allison
Reinaldo Arenas
Beth Brant
Diane Burns
Ana Castillo
Marilyn Chin
Sandra Cisneros
Wanda Coleman
Louise Eldrich
Melinda Goodman
hattie gossett
Jewelle Gomez
Jessica Hagedorn
Joy Harjo
Maurice Kenny
Myung Mi Kim
Jamaica Kincaid
Aurora Levins Morales
Albert Murray
Wendy Rose
ntozake shange
Kitty Tsui
Merle Woo
Marian Yee

The focus of this issue of STANDARDS is resistance. We hope to bring you to the writers we love, and encourage new authors.

Resistance is a part of all our lives, how we survive. Touch your sound; define your shape; speak truth to power.

En junta,

Canéla Analucinda Jaramillo
Founding Editor, STANDARDS







Original Graphics © 1996 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal




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