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Vol. 27, No. 3: The Abolitionist South

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by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Destiny Hemphill

It is an honor and a pleasure to be welcoming remarkable poet and visionary Destiny Hemphill as Poetry Editor alongside me here at Southern Cultures. Too often poetry journals, or even the small space poetry takes up in larger magazines, become vacuums that amplify the taste of one person. We’ve worked hard to make sure our poetry celebrates the widest possible range of voices in a constantly evolving South. We can always do better, but collaboration is always more fruitful than isolation—in poetry and in every aspect of life in this world.

Destiny Hemphill has long been one of my favorite poets writing today. She is what one might call an “emerging poet” since her highly anticipated first book is not yet out in the world. What I’ve always loved about Destiny is that her poems feel entirely her own and entirely timeless. They make community happen, building in their rigorous syntax and innovative formal vessel, and through the process of writing and making the gateway for the reader to move through, they create ritual space. I’m not sure I know of another poet writing today whose poems feel as alive as Destiny’s feel to me. These poems challenge me on every level. They are a pleasure and also a deep teaching. This act of community-making and ritual space is something Destiny enacts in her daily life as a teacher, healer, organizer, and editor. I know our poetry section has already been deepened and made fuller by her presence. It is a joy to be in collaboration and community with her. —Gabrielle Calvocoressi

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by Destiny Hemphill

Destiny Hemphill is a poet and ritual worker based in Durham, North Carolina. She has received fellowships from Callaloo, Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, Tin House, and Open Mouth. She is author of the chapbook Oracle: A Cosmology (Honeysuckle Press, 2018).

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