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TEEN CHAPBOOK SERIES Spring 2017


INTRODUCING THE REVOLVING DOOR PRESS TEEN CHAPBOOK SERIES Revolving Door Press is proud to present its inaugural cohort of the Teen Chapbook Series. The Teen Chapbook Series showcases young, emerging voices and stories through publication of short, individual collections of their poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Semira Truth Garrett, Jalen Kobayashi, Nyvia Taylor, and Kai Wright, four Chicago poets whose work contain an artistic maturity and rightful playfulness that is not shy, nor asks for forgiveness. They offer us poems that explore intersections of identity, race, family, body, and their city of Chicago. In Jalen Kobayshi’s chapbook, Northwest Ordinance, Jacob Saenz notes that his poems exemplify how hard it is to shake the grip of the old neighborhood as Jalen says, “I feel I hold my hood in my hood / Everytime I unsheathe my face”. Like a sword, Jalen’s poems are drawn & ready to strike. CM Burroughs writes that the poems in Semira Truth Garrett’s The Bare Backside are unafraid of the political bisec-tions of bodies, familiar browns and other colors, and of her city, Chicago. She has the sight and the guts to create searing verse. Revolving Door Arts believes in the power of young people to influence change; that they possess the capacity to be activators in the world by the talent and gifts of their words. It is our mission, through the Teen Chapbook Series, to create real space for teen voice within the literary and publishing landscapes, and to honor their creative work.

Our young authors view transition into authorhood as a way to permanently imprint themselves on the world. Kai Wright shares with us that publishing her chapbook, Lighthouse, means that her words are here and nobody can take my story, or my truth, or my life away from me. Semira, Jalen, Nyvia and Kai envision publishing a collection of their poems as a way to inspire other young writers to start and continue writing as much as it will inspire each of them to continue on their writing pathways . Nyvia Taylor says that publishing, for her, means “people will actually be hearing and reading our stuff and that’s going to make me want to write more.” The Teen Chapbook Series will become the signature publication the Revolving Door Arts teen publishing arts program, [Y]volve Publishing, where teens will learn the art and professional practice of publishing. We would like to thank our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, the Chicago Awesome Foundation, Jacob Saenz, CM Burroughs, Erika L. Sánchez, and RJ Eldridge, our generous donors, Kikomo.P Imagery, and countless others whom have made the Teen Chapbook Series a success.


SEMIRA TRUTH GARRETT is the author of The Bare Backside written for the artists and thinkers “who are not afraid to activate their canvases with the water colors created from the bare backsides of our tears.�

That Saved a

Like Me

The church bough rumbles with worship. First page of order: Amazing Grace. Apparently, I am a third line wretch illustrated with the blackest paint by the whitest hands, filthiest finger nails of dried up blood and faith.


JALEN KOBAYASHI

is the author of Northwest Ordinance which explores the identity crisis in knowing and accepting all sides one’s self and one’s family while living in one skin. This is a collection for Chicago’s children whose roads to riches start from the rags given them at birth.

— from “lucy parsons park” it is the first sunny day of the year it is Granola Bars [courtesy of WIC] sealed in thrifted purses it is Keanna and Jaselle and Jalen it is unapologetic and uncombed hair it is broken barbie dolls in dumpsters and skechers on feet that don’t light up anymore it is are we there yet ricocheting off eardrums it is the barking of Bishop muffled by the surfacing of our first smiles of the year it is unbuttoned collared shirts and shorts from the clearance aisle it is shoes from Rainbow and brickyard chipping our teeth as we speak it is a yard it is a field it lets our smiles surface as we run and we forget and we jump into woodchips it is splinters lining our cuticles it is dirt embedded in our skin


NYVIA TAYLOR is the author of Brown Visitors, poems acting as the eye obsessed, from afar, with watching the moments of our lives. “To me, a visitor can’t tell you the whole story because they’ve only experienced a sliver of it. My poems take you half of the way and leave your imagination to take you the rest of the journey.”

Brown Mother taught me to regurgitate the very venom she bit me with. How to let its burning acid rickashay off my tongue. And seep through my teeth. And balance beam my lips. Mother taught me how to let my back be Brown. Bending to the touch of ghost-like flesh. Mushy. Appearing solid enough for only the enjoyment of seconds. Mother taught me to be smooth, rough where it counts.


KAI WRIGHT

is the author of Lighthouse, a collection of love poems to Chicago written from the “deepest sorrow for the bodies slain in my city.” Her work reflects the difficult relationship of loving a city and accepting one’s self in the complexities of the surrounding world.

Chicago Boy I wanted to tell the world I loved you before I wanted to tell you. You gave me an envelope with my name on it. This was second grade all over again, only this time I was invited in. Much like love, I have never lived here. I tell your mother what a lovely home she has made for me inside of you, there to bring me comfort food and condoms if need be.

You said …. means the same as I love you. I wonder if it hurts the same, too.


ABOUT REVOLVING DOOR Revolving Door Arts is a nonprofit organization and press committed to empowering creative community and evolving the artistic craft of new, young, and emerging writers and artists.

CONTACT US Our door is always open to offer you more information regarding pre-orders of our teen chapbooks, teen and adult workshops, events, and partnership opportunities.

info@revolvingdoorarts.org



Revolving Door Arts Teen Chapbook Series, Spring 2017