Litro Summer edition: Desire


Writers featured in this inaugural issue of Litro USA speak of the desires of the body, of the flesh. Some speak more to a body politic or “real” politic. They all, including the poetic writer and translator Lawrence Schimel whose prose sparkles and sears with the heat of eroticsm; Chika Onyenezi who brings us nostalgic longings; Hannah Seidlitz whose melancholic desire sings; and Ingrid Norton who offers us dreamy prose, contribute dutifully and beautifully to this exploration of this most basic and complicated thing we all share: desire. Remember their names as, over time, you’ll want to grab more of their work.


If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end. – Bayard Rustin

Wanting something, the essence of desire is, for many, the thing that is hardest to express. Bayard Rustin, the gay, black, socialist labor and civil rights leader desired to live in a peaceful democracy where the labels that defined him might slowly fade into oblivion as his country embraced a new understanding of what the post-war US could and should be.

Litro launches in the US at an extraordinary time. Just as we thought we were entering the 21st Century with the hope that our collective desire to live in the kind of world Rustin desired, we were trumped. But writers can help us to mitigate our fears, their work can push us toward action, toward embracing our essential values in the face of being cast down, being made menial by the forces of those in power. Writers can give us hope and stoke our desires. – Ira Silverberg


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