Firelei Báez, Phoebe Boswell, Sujatha Fernandes – Aster(Ix) Journal May 2017



Aster(ix) Journal Newsletter | May 2017

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Firelei Báez, Sans-Souci

Dear Aster(ix) readers,

We are delighted this month to feature a conversation with editor Angie Cruz and artist Firelei Báez who is currently exhibiting her solo show Bloodlines at The Andy Warhol Museum through May 21st.

Also new online is a stunning visual essay of Phoebe Boswell in conversation with James Baldwin. Please read on for a new short story by Sujatha Fernandes, a microeditorial by Sheila Maldonado, and lastly Caitlyn Christensen casts a Remedio by conducting a tarot card reading for Trump, America’s emperor.

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting Aster(ix) by buying our Spring 2017 issue: Best of Kweli, or subscribe to the journal and be one of the first to receive our Summer 2017 issue, Kitchen Table Translations, edited by Madhu Kaza.

Wishing you inspired and joyful summer months! 

With love, 
Aster(ix) Journal


Read On

Interview: FIirelei Báez on Generosity and Freedom in Art | Angie Cruz
“So as a Dominican raised in the U.S. but who spent my formative years in the D. R., I didn’t grow up with any concept of art. It was through public schooling and after school programs in the U.S. that I was like, oh art is something that people do. I made art all the time–my family is super creative and I would be the one to make paper dolls for the entire neighborhood–so the act of making was always with me, but this idea of becoming an artist, I didn’t have that in D.R.”


Art: Stranger in the Village, a Visual Essay  | Phoebe Boswell
Like many of you, I’ve felt so much anger–rage even–over the last week. I keep thinking about Audre Lorde’s writing about anger in “The Uses of Anger” (1981) for so many reasons. It so eloquently addresses shared anger within both the context of white nationalist populism AND the uncritical liberal appeals of “we are all immigrants” and to “good Muslims” and “respectable” minority citizen-subjects in the name of opposing Trump’s anti-immigrant/anti-refugee/anti-Muslim policies. 


Fiction: Bamboo Wedding | Sujatha Fernandes
Somwattie may have been semi-literate but she was sharp when it came to numbers, due to all her small business schemes back home in Guyana. With the total of five hundred and fifty dollars she brought home each week from six cleaning jobs, it would take her years to even earn that amount. All of her savings had gone toward putting Devika through Queens College.


Microeditorial: #fuckICE  | @shelamal


Remedios: A Reading for America’s Emperor | Caitlyn Christensen
She kneeled before the Emperor and unfolded the cards at his feet. As she took in the spread before her, she knew she would not disguise the truth in false flattery. The message the cards contained was too important not to share. It applied not only to the Emperor, but to every soul who filled his courtroom. She cleared her throat, and then began to speak.


From Best of Kweli Spring Issue 2017

Poetry: Volver, Volver | Ariana Brown
tus brazos otra vez
my grandmother’s
elementary, her inherited
Spanish trickling through
closed lips, as the teacher
instructs, ‘English only’;


Poetry: Lock Butter | Hope Johnson
I be immersed
in the butter of her name
thicklike mud still wet
on God’s fingertips


Poetry: Woman and the Branch | Rachel Eliza Griffiths
I knew. I knew. My mother gave me
her bluebird of happiness. Carrying the glass
inside my skin to school, I was young.


Buy Spring 2017 Issue Best of Kweli


Best of Kweli is a compilation of 20 of the best prose and poems published in Kweli Journal (an online-only journal of experimental African American literature) in the past seven years. Featuring Brit Bennett, Ariana Brown, Cortney Lamar Charleston, Geimy Colón, Naima Coster, Ansel Elkins, Anita Felicelli, Marko Fong, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Raven Jackson, Hope Johnson, Cynthia Manick, Cecca Austin Ochoa, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Princess Perry, Audrey M. Peterson, Noel Quiñones, Nelly Rosario, Tiphanie Yanique, Leslie C. Youngblood. In these pages, no form goes unexplored, as Kweli‘s authors grapple with life, the universe, and everything in between.

This product is a paperback book.


As usual, many of you know Aster(ix) is a work of puro amor devoted to writers, artists, thinkers and activists committed to social change. It runs on a crazy, midnight-oil kind of energy and thrives on word-of-mouth. So thank you all who tweetinstagram, and subscribe to our newsletter, who like our FB page and cite us in your work. 

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