When we launched Issue Eight several months into last year’s lockdown, it was only just beginning to dawn on us all how long-drawn this calamity would be. Half a year later, our contributors write – in the new slate of poems that we’re thrilled to present here – from vastly different worlds.
We follow Cheng Him through a parched landscape, eager for the relief of rain (‘Inclement‘), while Brandon McQuade takes us with his family on a tentative walk out into their quarantined world (‘Crows’ Lodge‘). Others write of more profound, elemental transformations: witness the thrill of resurrection in Lisa Kiew’s ‘Lazarus‘, or the mystery of birth, in Alexandra Strnad’s ‘Breathe‘. Each poem carves out room for reflection in the disorienting tumult of our present time, helping us hear the voices that come to us from past and future: ‘I will give these women a space to speak’, writes Emma Lee in ‘The Sea’s Prompt‘.
We also include two longer prose contributions in this issue. In the first, co-editor Tash speaks to Shakira Stellar on the rhythms of drumming and poetry, and in the second, Winston TL shares his reflections on reading Nina Mingya Powles’ Magnolia, 木蘭, which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. ‘The tenderness of ordinary moments in our lives’, he writes, ‘have much to inform us about what it means to be in this world’. We couldn’t agree more.
In the nine(!) issues since we launched in 2016, it’s been The Kindling‘s mission to make room for some of these tender moments, by giving young writers, as it were, ‘a space to speak’. Even as our worlds continue to change beyond recognition, that’s a goal that keeps us going.
We hope you’ll find much in this issue to share, mull over, and celebrate.
Tash & Theo
Cheng Him | Imogen Cooper | Sam Wilson Fletcher | Miguel Barreto Garcia
Lisa Kiew | Alan Kissane | Emma Lee | Brandon McQuade | Paul Stephenson
Alexandra Strnad | Grant Tarbard | Tricia Tan
Shakira Stellar | Winston TL