The latest issue of Khôra is back with new work from a brilliant team of writers and artists. Khôrais a dynamic online arts space produced in collaboration with groundbreaking author Lidia Yuknavitch’s Corporeal Writing. Khôra is committed to writers and artists who explore the creative by and through an ever-evolving and expansive lens. We are honored to showcase the work of polyphonic, multi-genre writers and artists.
Last month was Khôra’s one-year anniversary! Thank you for your enthusiastic response to our magazine over the past year, and ENORMOUS THANKS and LOVE to our subscribers. Over the past year, it has been an honor to collaborate with so many visionary writers and artists, whose work for Khôra is being shared all over — from writing workshops to university lectures to publications to social media. Just last month, we were thrilled to read Hippocampus Magazine’s interview with author Megan Stielstra, in which she called Khôra “an amazing experimental journal.” We are humbled and couldn’t do it without you, our phenomenal subscribers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Issue 10’s Featured Writer, Priyanka Sacheti, is a writer and poet based in Bangalore, India. Her literary work has appeared in many literary journals such as Barren, Parentheses Art, Dust Poetry Magazine, Popshot, The Lunchticket, and Jaggery Lit, as well as various anthologies. She is currently working on a poetry and short story collection. Her poem One Day is accompanied by her photo of an “unfurled hibiscus / glowing quietly in the dusty December light.”
We’re excited to feature Argentinian-born, Berlin-based multimedia artist Juan Arata, who works in the fields of installation, video, sculpture, writing and painting. Issue 10’s cover image Life is Real Only Then, When ‘I Am’ (pictured below, from Arata’s recent exhibition) explores the notion of the occult.
“I create as I speak
but I don’t know the higher language
just a notion of the occult.
The secret knowledge is in the mistake.”
In Issue 10, we’re back with new work from our collaborative team of curated writers: Carol Fischbach, Ploi Pirapokin, Adam Swanson, and Sabrina Tom. What a gritty, glorious group! We’ve also collaborated in this issue with phenomenal artists Helen G. Blake, Jen Fuller, Fay Ku, and Soumya Netrabile.
If you love what you’re seeing, please subscribe, share, tweet, retweet, and post, and Khôra will be back next month.
In Issue 9, Khôra is back with a brilliant new team of four writers and four artists. This collaborative team of eight will work together on Issues 9 – 12, and we’re excited for you to meet them.
Issue 9’s featured writer is Chloe Clark, the author of Collective Gravities, Your Strange Fortune, and more. Her forthcoming books include Escaping the Body and Every Song a Vengeance. In The Waves Hear Every Promise You’ve Made, a renowned limnologist is called to investigate a strange occurrence at a lake from her past:
“Someone found a pile of bones washed ashore. Like a whole pile. Some animal bones, maybe some human.”
Chloe Clark’s artful, eerie short story is paired with two of her own photographs of Lake Superior.
Featured artist Colleen Keefe (they/them) is a visual artist, writer and curator based in Philadelphia. Keefe says of their current body of work: “For a long time my work has explored methods for breeding urban environments using organic models—multicellular organisms’ reproductive and propulsion strategies, pollination methods employed by plants, or stellar birth…more recently I’ve been experimenting with gestural work and writing. Untitled 2020.1is part of a series of smaller gestural, meditative works on Yupo paper.”
In addition to their studio practice, Keefe has been curating since 1995—first, as co-director of 57 Hope in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY (1995-2001)—and currently as co-director of Mount Airy Contemporary (2009-present).
It’s exciting to watch an issue come together, and in this one, I was taken surprise by the synergy of several distinct meditations on the stars. If you love what you’re reading and seeing, please share, tweet, retweet, comment, and post. Khôra will be back with a new issue next month.
“The stretch of road that snakes between land and Lake Superior was always shifting between sight and secrets—that’s how Kara’s son had described it, when he was young, on one of their long drives up to the cabin, and it had stuck in her head ever since. She thought of it again as she broke free from the darkness of a tunnel and the lake was suddenly there beside her. It shimmered under the sun, all light and vastness…”
HOLY MOTHER OF OCEANS™ last week’s Khôra Salon was brilliant! Thank you to Lilly Dancyger, Gina Rae La Cerva, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Kat Lewis, and Nay Saysourinho for bringing your gorgeous energy and talents to this event.
You’re invited to join us for an afternoon/evening of live readings from our most recently featured writers on Wednesday, September 1 at 4 PT / 7 ET. Save the date and we’ll send a reminder with the Zoom link next week.
In Issue 8, we’re thrilled to share Bring to a boil, then simmer, by our featured writer Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. Kaylais a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is currently a fiction editor at TriQuarterly and a writer for Autostraddle. Her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Catapult, The Offing, The Journal, and Joyland. She attended the 2020 Tin House Summer Workshop for short fiction and is an upcoming fellow for Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. Bring to a boil, then simmer rides the edge between pleasure and pleasing; Kayla’s words are paired with the explosive artwork of painter Christina McPhee.
You’ll want to take your time with Christine Larsen’s graphic story, the end. Christine is a Harvey Award-nominated cartoonist and illustrator, who has created art for comics, book covers, stories, posters and websites; working with clients such as Dark Horse, Image, IDW, BOOM! Studios, Simon & Schuster, and Cartoon Network. In 2018, she created a 100-foot mural, titled Farewell to Night, at the Philadelphia International Airport. Larsen is an adjunct instructor at the University of the Arts and lives in North Philadelphia, where she “toils over an unforgiving drawing board, creating horrible wonders for the amusement of her demon cohort.”
This is the last issue from our current team of curated writers and artists. They’ve been a dream team in every way! If you love what you’re seeing, please share, tweet, retweet, comment, and post.
Khôra will be back with a new team of writers and artists in our next issue.
“Ginger and garlic and hot pepper and fennel butter-sputter in the bottom of a soup pot while you wrap your bloody finger with a damp paper towel. Your fingertip caught on the grater again. Distracted by the wound, you burned the butter. The smell reminded you of pancakes, but you chucked the brown gloop in the sink and began again. Butter, ginger, garlic, hot pepper, fennel—back in the pot. Turmeric and coriander seeds, too.
This issue’s featured writer, Gina Rae La Cerva, is a geographer, environmental anthropologist, and award-winning writer. Her book Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food was recommended by the New York Times for their 2020 Summer Reading List. Gina’s search for “the last untamed food” began after she noticed an increase in the price of wild-caught foods. “Foods that had been associated with subsistence and poverty for most of human history” had suddenly become luxuries, and she set out on a quest to understand why. Wild Spring Immunity Tea was written after a recent forage near Gina’s home in Santa Fe, and the piece is accompanied by a photograph of her finds.
Esther Pearl Watson’s series “Safer at Home: Pandemic Paintings” is a collection of 100 small paintings created in the tradition of ex-votos. Esther has been working in this style for several years; prior to the pandemic, many of her paintings include visits from spaceships and alien visitors. Esther chose the Carpenter’s quirky, creepy version of “The Rainbow Connection” to accompany her painting, The Stay at Home Order Starts at Midnight. She writes, “What was heading our way? We had no idea how to protect our families. Looking back, it is easy to see some of our early rushes to the store to stock up on toilet paper or disinfectant wipes were desperate acts of an anxious society.”
We’re thrilled to share new work from our current team of curated writers and artists. If you love what you’re seeing, please share, tweet, retweet, and post, and Khôra will be back next month.
Leigh Hopkins and the Corporeal/Khôra squad
“When the world feels like too much, take your grief into the woods. Bring a basket and a pair of sharp scissors.”
“When the world feels like too much, take your grief into the woods. Bring a basket and a pair of sharp scissors.
Gather over-wintered rose hips from the bare stalks of wild roses. They will taste jammy and sweet, leathery on the tongue, like Nature’s candy. Sit on the ground and eat a few. Spit out the many seeds as a prayer for new flowers.
Gently pull off wrinkled juniper berries, leftovers from last fall. They will sound like hail as they drop into your basket…”
For Issue 6, it was a treat to collaborate with this month’s featured writer Lilly Dancyger, whose highly-anticipated memoir Negative Space will be released on May 1, 2021. Khôra’s current cover image was considered for the cover of Lilly’s memoir, a book that blends journalism, memoir, and criticism to examine her memories of her father, who was part of the iconic 1980s East Village art scene. This issue’s gritty, affectionate piece Not a Memoir was not included in the final version of Negative Space, and we’re thrilled to give it new life here.
In his day-to-day work life, this month’s featured artist Anthony Grant creates commercial design work for the masses. While his professional work strives for perfection and/or “solutions,” his personal artwork aims to be disruptive, while drawing on the familiar, using certain visual cues and symbols often found in advertising to question identity and cultural norms/expectations. The viewer is meant to question the meaning of the piece, and the meaning of the cultural icons and symbols Anthony has appropriated.
In Anthony’s words:
Busy Signal is part of an ongoing body of work which combines my interests in symbols both graphic and personal, representation of African Americans in media, textures, and recycling in both literal and figurative terms.
Before you dive into Issue 6, I want to mention the recent controversy over Substack’s decision to publish writers who have been vicious in their opinions of the trans community. We have written to Substack to advocate for justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity, and demanded that they remove these writers from the platform. If you know us, you know we take this seriously, and we’re not going to let this go.
In the meantime, if you love what you’re seeing here, please share, tweet, retweet, and post, and Khôra will be back next month.
Leigh Hopkins and the Corporeal/Khôra squad
“How much do you love me? Will you eat sashimi with me? Are you adventurous?”
Not a Memoir by Featured Writer Lilly Dancyger / artwork by Joe Schactman
“Three years into the process, I was having trouble adjusting to the idea that I was writing a memoir. I didn’t want to write about myself, I wanted to write about my father. But I couldn’t seem to do one without the other. I wanted to make a book of his art, immortalized images printed cleanly next to the story of his life, a canonization. But every piece of his story I uncovered led me back to my grief over his death, my anger at his addiction, the splintered relationship with my mother I’d been left with when he died. I kept saying the book I was writing was an artist monograph, but every day the words stared back at me, so clearly, defiantly, a memoir…”
“In his day to day work life, Anthony Grant creates commercial design work for the masses. He spends his days crafting user interfaces as well as other digital and or printed media relying on acquired knowledge of the graphic arts. Balancing those “rules” of design with his own intuition and style. While his professional work strives for perfection and or “solutions”, his personal art work aims to be disruptive, while drawing on the familiar, using certain visual cues and symbols often found in advertising to question identity and cultural norms/expectations…”
“When I was twenty-three, I promised my best friend I would carry her child. The year after we graduated from college, doctors needed to do a hysterectomy to save her life—a surgery she was considering forgoing. “If I can’t be a mother, I should just die,” Bora had told me in the black of our San Francisco apartment as we watched Where the Wild Things Are. We sat on our secondhand sofa, sharing my childhood blanket, and I tried to imagine life without her…”
“There’s a risk in what these objects represent. There are people who would love to see this project disappear; people who want this to go away. I’m not paranoid, I’m just realistic that these objects need to be safeguarded. I hate to point that out, but it’s become a reality. If I hadn’t collected these items, no one would believe me.”
This is what artist Tom Kiefer told me about his body of work, “El Sueño Americano / The American Dream,” a photographic documentation of the personal belongings carried by migrants and asylum-seekers that were seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In 2019, I visited Tom Kiefer’s studio in Ajo, Arizona, and as we sat among the thousands of objects he has been documenting, I was reminded of something Lidia said during a workshop in Portland back in 2018: “Resisting plot is a political act.” Read about Tom’s work in Cynthia’s CD Collection.
In Issue 5, you’ll meet Jamar Nicholas, author of Leon, Protector of the Playground. Jamar is a cartoonist and graphic novelist who created Leon “for a new generation of kids who weren’t seeing themselves in the fiction they consumed.” As he wrote in (Black) Boy Wonder:
“as a child, I enjoyed Spider-Man, but I didn’t want to be a white guy sticking to the side of a building, I just wanted the sticky building.”
Congratulations to Jamar, who just signed a three-book deal with Scholastic to bring Leon the Extraordinary to the page.
I’m also thrilled to introduce the new team of four writers and four artists who are collaborating with us to create the next four issues of Khôra. If you love what you’re seeing, please share, repost, tweet, and retweet, and we’ll be back next month.
Hot tip: How do you make the ô in Khôra? Press and hold the option key and the letter i, release and click o.
Get ready to dive into Issue 4. So much has changed since we were last together. It seems like many of us are moving between states of relief and grief, and all of this month’s artists have something to say about coping. You’ll read about moving forward while confronting the past, the many ways we offer each other consolation, and the deep, animal need for a collective howl of joy.
All week, we’ve been singing along with the playlist included at the end of Shane Rowland’s piece. We hope you’ll love it, too. Her words offer the kind of connection and community we crave.
“into alive now
inside cells of who we are
becoming utterly here”
— into alive now: choreographies of becoming
We hope that the latest issue offers you a soft place to land.
In addition to being named a 2020-2021 Steinbeck Fellow, this month’s featured writer Tammy Delatorre has received many other literary awards, including the Payton Prize, Slippery Elm Prose Prize, CutBank’s Montana Prize for Nonfiction, and Columbia Journal Fall Contest. Her writing has also appeared in Los Angeles Review, Zone 3, Hobart Online, The Rumpus, and Vice.
Her short fiction is paired with the embroidery of Israeli artist Yael Peleg Zeelim.
She calls him late one night, a stranger who slid his number across a bar.
“Of course, I remember you,” he says. “Red dress. Mojito Mondays.”
During featured artist Samira Abbassy’s 30 year career, her work has been acquired for private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the British Government Art Collection, the Burger Collection, the Donald Rubin collection (Rubin Museum, NY), the Farjam Collection, Dubai; the Devi Foundation, India; the Omid foundation, Iran; and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery Collection.
“I chose music and a quote to accompany my diptych, Ghosts of Her Migration,because both reflect the sense of homesickness and displacement conveyed in this piece.”