I am looking for content that is above all intersectional. People of the diaspora are complex. I want work that showcases that range of complexity, from rage, to ratchet to rural, from cerebral to celebratory, from granola to grits. All are acceptable forms of black life and black resistance. I want to see a careful and rigorous treatment of the "paradoxes" that can exist comfortably within a single soul. Our stories are multifaceted. I want people to step away from this feature skeptical of monolithic notions of blackness.
In terms of craft, I am looking for work that is playful and human. Ideally the poems, essays and stories would possess a kind of emotional and imaginative intelligence but still have an interest in the theoretical. I also encourage the experimental, work that pays as much attention to process as to content, because it is through process that our work shapes us and opens up new avenues of thinking and feeling, not just new thoughts themselves. Be bold and be unapologetic. I don't want poems that apologize for themselves. I want work that can clear a room as easily as it can fill it. I want work that takes up space.
Alysia Nicole Harris hails from Virginia. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Yale University in linguistics and her MFA in poetry at New York University. Alysia also a member of the internationally known performance poetry collective, The Strivers Row and has performed in the UK, Germany, Slovakia, South Africa and across the United States. As winner of the 2014 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize, current finalist for the 2014 Edwin Markham Poetry Prize, finalist for the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, and alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference, her poetry has appeared in Indiana Review, Catch & Release Columbia's Journal of Literature and Art, Adanna Literary Journal, Letters Journal, and Solstice Literary Magazine as well as on Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices. She currently lives in New Haven, CT.