Jennifer Bartlett

For a long time, I have been rolling around the idea of making a literary magazine to include artist and writers, who exist outside the usual artistic communities. I was inspired by a friend who has been a poet for a long time, but sometimes feels outside any group. I, myself, have felt that way. Often.

In July, I made my annual trip with my son to Bronycon. The conference, for the ultimate outsider, is located in Baltimore, the city of outsider art. Every year, I visit the American Visionary Museum, a museum for so-called “outsider artists.” All these things added up to me considering “What is an outsider?” “Who gets published and why?” “What about all the voices that don’t make it into the mainstream?” I think, traditionally, “outsider artist” means someone who did not study art in school. For me, the meaning is vaster. It not only means people who are disabled, non-white, LGBTQ, or otherwise outside the dominant culture. It also can include people who don’t feel they fit in, for some reason or another.

As a project to advance my writing the biography of the poet Larry Eigner, I spent the last two years studying Judaism. When I came across the word Hineni, it had special meaning for me. Hineni, in short, means “I am here” in a spiritual sense. It is what Abraham said to God in the Old Testament and the chorus of Leonard Cohen’s swan song. What formed in my poetic consciousness was the idea of being present. And being open to light. Goodness is available to everyone.

After Donald Trump was elected, it became clearer that people without a voice were/and are in danger of being further oppressed. I thought, how can I help? So that is when I decided to put this all together.

Yes, it’s a small drop in the barrel of speaking and protests, but the drops create the storm.

Thank you to my dear, lovely husband Jim Stewart, who did the web site.