2022-2023 Edition

Cover art by Kimberly Baum

Volume LIII

To read samples from the issue, click on the linked names (forthcoming).

Art:  Sophia Aimone, Kimberly Baum (cover art), Koedi Birmingham, Tess Cahill, Jessica Hitzman, Gretchen Litzlbeck, Dalton Mauzay, Cira Mesubed, Corrina Stadler, Alyson Yates

Poetry: Emily Andrews, Gabriel Boehmer, Christen Careaga, Tausha Cummins, Rebecca DeLore, Amelia Díaz Ettinger, Kristi Helgeson, Alexa Jamison, Adriana Juarez, Megan Phillips, Gregory Rawlins

Fiction: Amelia Díaz Ettinger, Jensen Heike, Levi Johnson, Jeremy Pegg, Vannotes 

Nonfiction: Kristi Helgeson, Cheyenne Maszk, Jeremy Pegg, Heidi Schulz 

Staff: Christopher Densmore (editor), Mary K. Urquhart (managing editor), Jessica Hitzman (art editor), Tausha Cummins, Delilah Deckert, Rebecca DeLore, Amy Faust, Gracie Gurr, Patsy Lally, Robert Massie, Bekah Ontiveros, Megan Phillips, Destiny Valero, Nick Neely (faculty advisor), Michael Sell (art faculty advisor)

Editor’s Note:

Above all, dear reader, thank you for your generosity in receiving this issue of Oregon East with some of your precious time and attention. I think I speak for all the writers and artists included in this collection when I say we hope it offers some consolation, challenge, or clarity to some of your habitual grooves of thought, feeling, and behavior.

I’ve never written an editor’s note before, and I feel a bit presumptuous offering pithy prefixes. After all, I’m sure you’ll find what you need in these pages, and this collection is as much a product of a collective effort (shepherded with particular care and expertise by Nick Neely and notably kept within the guardrails of reasonable standards so often by Mary Urquhart’s fastidious work ethic and upbeat initiative) as it is any sort of product of my vision. 

That said, if I ought to speculate on a couple of throughlines that emerge, I do note in these pages a persistent querying of what it means to be in healthy relationship with more-than-human others. Poets like Rebecca DeLore, Christen Pagett, and Greg Rawlings all find themselves in intimate relationship with the wild and domestic ecologies of the Pacific Northwest, while Vannotes, Amelia Ettinger, and Heidi Schulz all queer the boundaries of relating to science and magic in supernatural and speculative fictions. A variety of the pieces also plumb the griefs and anxieties of familial wounds. Levi Johnson and Cheyenne Maszk each reckon in their own way with the heartache born from the limitations of parental love, while Gabriel Boehmer, Jensen Heike and Jeremy Pegg all search for meaning in the face of wrenching loss.

In light of these groupings, I hope that, perhaps—if anything so teleological—this collection presents possibilities for expanding our notions of family to encompass grief, praise, and love for more than the immediate and nuclear relations of blood. Family must be more than mere genetic inheritance if we are to breathe into being a world of more spacious empathy, relationship, and interdependent thriving. The poets and writers in these pages all, in one way or another, offer imaginative space to cultivate tenderness and intimacy for beings we might call family—be they queer faerie or plant witch, hedgehog or cosmonaut.

Thanks for taking the time to consider their work. I hope there’s some mystery here that stirs your heart.

— Christopher Densmore

Contributor Notes (bios forthcoming)