For every book, every essay, every story, every poem that we encounter in the world, so many more will never see the light of day. Even now, in the age of the internet, when so much is at our fingertips, so much still remains unwritten, unspoken, hidden from view. This folio has been three years in the making, in the most literal sense, but I think it’s also––in a very real sense––the product of generations of women’s lived experience, of thinking, of agonizing, of poetizing, of prophesying from the margins. The poems and prose reflections assembled in this folio represent just a few slices in the vast range of contemporary perspectives on what it means to envisage, as people who are not cis male, a different kind of world than the patriarchal one we inherited. If prophecy is, at its core, about the power of language, these explorations imagine how we might wield language to do something other than what’s been done with it before: to reclaim the past, rather than try to predict the future; to seek transformation, not transcendence, in our material world.
Shoshana Olidort is a critic, writer, and translator. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asymptote, the Times Literary Supplement, the Paris Review Daily, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Literary Hub, among other publications. She is the web editor at the Poetry Foundation.