What good can art do?
In the face of this election, those of us that love the written word are faced with an impossible question: what good can art do?
The past few years have shown us the darker power of words and art. Violent rhetoric paired with apathy have brought us to the precipice. As poets, writers, and artists of conscience, we struggle to create in the face of violent entropy: slurs, harassment, burning crosses, bombs, mass graves. We can’t avoid the gaze of the abyss; we meet its scrutiny, naked but for our words and the paltry protection they provide.
The origins of this magazine’s name draw an inalienable connection between weapons and books. A Beecher’s Bible was another name for a rifle, named after Henry Ward Beecher, who claimed that guns gave more moral power than a Bible to those fighting to keep slavery out of Kansas. We, the current masthead, inherited this name and legacy with an understanding of its irony. We are named after a man who chose guns over words.
We choose words over guns. Always.
Language has always been used in the service of oppression, but also of liberty. Words articulate hopes and create futures. They create cracks in the cement monolith that we call the past. Words light fires in the present.
If you are Black, Indigenous, trans, queer, Latinx, a person of color;
If you are poor, an immigrant or the child of immigrants;
If you are disabled, fat, a survivor of sexual violence, a woman, in a body that is now an unwilling battleground;
If you are a person of empathy and principle, if despair has stolen your sleep and your faith:
Now, more than ever, you are needed. Make poetry that will endure, reclaim, and transform. Arm your stories and array them for battle. If you are scared, send us your prayers: your breath will kindle embers.
Do not stop writing. We are waiting to hear what you have to say
Your words will find audiences you never dreamed of. Your art is a seed that might be buried, split open in an embarrassing display of humility and vulnerability, and still create something new. Don’t surrender the best weapon we have. Keep writing, keep submitting: your voice is needed and necessary.
With love and solidarity,
The crew at Beecher’s
November 16, 2016
We are now open for submissions for Beecher’s 7! See our guidelines.
And Beecher’s 6 is now available for purchase!
The Review Review calls us “…a notable journal with a solid mix of every type of writing and writer” that “is well worth being a part of if you should be so lucky as to be selected for inclusion.”