Issue #12 ~ Summer 2023
Dear Friends and Readers,
If you love what we’re doing, please “put another dime in the jukebox, baby.”
I almost always end these letters by expressing the hope that you enjoy the content we have to offer and enjoy it enough to return again and again for more. Part of our mission and vision is to provide a beautiful and equitable platform for writers and artists to share their work but without you, dear reader, to share it with, we wouldn’t be able to do that. The release of each issue is like a “big reveal” and very much like the final piece of a puzzle that makes this lit mag adventure work. In large part, it is what makes the project so fulfilling and worthwhile.
By the time we get to this point, I’ve become deeply familiar with the nuances, voice, and brilliance in all the pieces and attached my own personal meaning to each. By the time we get to this point, I’m simply giddy with excitement about sharing and celebrating each, and also the issue as a work of art in its own right. By the time we get to this point, I can’t help but reflect on the entire process and all the people who came together to make the issue (and the journal) possible. Let me be clear, the list is long.
This is our 12th issue and includes the results of our 3rd annual Honeybee Literature Prize so I want to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to the judges of this year’s contest. I’m certain I can speak for everyone on the team when I say we were positively blown away by Roxane Gay and her willingness to volunteer her time and expertise to select the winner and runners-up in fiction. Several members of our team were sitting at a picnic table at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle before AWP started this year when her email accepting our request came through. We were (and still are) star-struck!
We were also fortunate to have Rodrigo Toscano and Hugh Reilly who were both equally wonderful to work with in judging their respective genres of poetry and nonfiction. All three of these fine folks were kind, thoughtful with their endorsements of the pieces, and generous with their time. Huge thank you to Roxane, Rodrigo, and Hugh, for making this our best contest yet!!
Of course, quite a bit of effort was involved in narrowing down the hundreds of submissions we received to the finalists in each category. Thanks to the members of our editorial team who carefully considered every submission: Debra Rose Brillati, Ashley Espinoza, Michelle Pierce Battle, Carina Faz, Tacheny Perry, Tana Buoy, Cid Galicia, Cat Dixon, Emily Marvin, Terry Belew, Annie Barker, Joel Clay, and Erin Owen. They collaborated alongside readers Ciara Hoff, Christine Nessler, Patrick O’Dell, Amy Crawford, and Kisha Nicole Foster to sort through the slush pile (a term I have always hated) and select the pieces they felt were prize-worthy.
The truth is, that we had so many fantastic pieces this year so it was a challenge to choose. I’m lucky to have such a supportive and energetic team, who are always ready and willing to get down to the business of reading and weighing the merits of every piece. They take their role seriously and that’s a key factor in ensuring our success.
Walking backward even further though, the soul of this issue truly began in the hearts and minds of the authors who were willing to share the fruits of their labor with us. Without their drive, imagination, and passion for writing, we would not have such amazing poems and stories to offer in these virtual pages. This issue features nine outstanding pieces from the winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions of the Honeybee Prize: Tiffany Promise, Rachel Sussman, Kelsey Smoot, Oak Morse, Blake Kinnett, Hemmy So, Nicki Orser, R.J. Lambert, and Pell Williams. Their pieces appear alongside two poems from Nebraska State Poet, Matt Mason, a stage play by playwright, Milton Joseph, and poetry by Isabel Andres with translation by Kiran Bhat. More about the contest winners, including an endorsement for each by our esteemed judges, can be found in the official announcement on our Buzz Blog.
Our list of contributors does not end there, though. This issue also includes some incredible artwork by several talented artists: Sarah Louise Wilson, Aaron Lelito, Colomba Klenner, Kim Roger Abi Zeid Daou, and Mary Proctor. These pieces were selected because they caught our eye and also because of the ways in which they visually complement the writing in the stories, script, and poems. For details about each piece and the artist who created it, please visit the issue 12 artwork page.
In closing, I also want to acknowledge some of the fine folks who have offered and continue to offer advice, support, and direction as we navigate our way through the ever-changing landscape of this “not-so-little-anymore” lit mag adventure. My thanks go out to our advisory board: Kate Gale, Tom Paine, Kevin Clouther, and Matt Mason, and to our Spanish translation consultant, Pamela Broadman. Their positive energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement are an inspiration.
That’s it for Issue #12, Summer 2023. Thanks for reading and thanks for taking your time to dance with us.
Cheers to Shade Trees and Honeybees,