On “Code”

Dear A,

Something aches in varying textures of porousness, so I know the process of grief is like time itself. I read your poem “Code,” and something is both lost and found; after you passed into waters I could not …

Jennifer S. Cheng is the author of MOON: Letters, Maps, Poems (Tarpaulin Sky, 2018), which was named a Publishers Weekly best book of 2018; House A (Omnidawn, 2016), selected by Claudia Rankine for the Omnidawn Poetry Prize; and Invocation: an Essay (New Michigan Press, 2010), an image-text chapbook. She has received fellowships and awards from Brown University, the University of Iowa, the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Fulbright program, Kundiman, Bread Loaf, MacDowell, and the Academy of American Poets.

from We Will Take Any Mother; Code; Cut; Every Verb Is a Lesson in Longing or Dread; After Vermont, My Hipster Hunter’s Cap; and from Test

April Freely (1982–2021) was a Cleveland-born poet and essayist based in New York City, where she directed the Fire Island Artist Residency. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. The recipient of fellowships and awards from the Ohio Arts Council, Vermont Studio Center, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and others, Freely was a graduate of Brown University and held an MFA in nonfiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MFA in poetry from New York University. In addition to her advocacy for LGBTQ and BIPOC artists, Freely was an activist for labor rights and the end of gun violence.


Alejandro Varela is a writer based in New York. An editor-at-large of Apogee Journal, he has published work in The Point, Boston Review, Harper’s, The Rumpus, The Brooklyn Rail, The Offing, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He is a 2019 Jerome Fellow in Literature, a resident in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2017–18 Workspace program, and a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in nonfiction. His graduate studies were in public health. Varela’s first novel, The Town of Babylon, was released by Astra House in 2022, while his second book, The People Who Report More Stress, is forthcoming 2023, also from Astra House.

What We Bring Home: Little Petra

Lisa Tan is an American artist living in Stockholm, Sweden. She works with video, photography, installation, and other gestures. Her work was recently presented in The Collection at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Artists’ Film International at Whitechapel Gallery, London; Komunikazioa (in)komunikazioa at Tabakalera, San Sebastian; 84 Steps at Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam; The Ghost Ship and the Sea Change, the eleventh Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art; and Dodge and Burn at the Athenaeum in Athens, Georgia.

Misplacement, or Lost and Found Objects

Martin Harries teaches at the University of California, Irvine, and works on twentieth-century theater, modernism, and theory. He is the author of two books, Forgetting Lot’s Wife: On Destructive Spectatorship (Fordham University Press, 2007) and Scare Quotes from Shakespeare: Marx, Keynes, and the Language of Reenchantment (Stanford University Press, 2000), while recent publications include “S.N. Behrman, Comedy, and the Extermination of the Jews: Broadway, Christmas Eve, 1934,” in Modern Drama. He is finishing “Theater after Film,” a book about the impact of mass culture on postwar drama.


Courtney Faye Taylor is the author of Concentrate (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Rachel Eliza Griffiths as winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Taylor’s poetry and visual art can be found in Poetry, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere.


Opening Remarks

Isabelle Loring Wallace is interim co-director of the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia and a specialist in the field of contemporary art. She is the author of Jasper Johns (Phaidon, 2014) and is currently completing a second book about Johns that considers his work in conjunction with contemporaneous developments in the fields of genetics and psychoanalysis. Wallace is also a contributor to and co-editor of three anthologies: Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate, 2011); Contemporary Art About Architecture: A Strange Utility (Ashgate, 2013); and Ventriloquism, Performance, and Contemporary Art (forthcoming in 2023 from Routledge).

To Our Readers

May 2022

The muse may be thankless, but sometimes something unexpected drops down from above in a way that makes you think life has been eavesdropping on what has been running through your mind. In the letter to the reader …

Gerald Maa is a writer, translator, and editor based in Athens, GA.  His poetry and translations have appeared in places such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, and Push Open the Window: Contemporary Poetry from China (Copper Canyon, 2011).  His essays have appeared in places such as Criticism, Studies in Romanticism, A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race (University of Georgia, 2015), and The Little Magazine in Contemporary America (University of Chicago, 2015).  Work from his practice of activated writing have been performed and mounted in Los Angeles, New York, and Sweden.  In 2010, he founded The Asian American Literary Review with Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, where he served as editor-in-chief until starting his job at The Georgia Review in August 2019.


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