Travel. Read. Beach. Lie in bed. Read. And on and on. Here we have two joints from Artistically Declined, the short story collection AYITI from Roxane Gay and the poetry collection Temporary Yes from Kat Dixon. As always there is a desire to seek out threads and how these collections hang together given their shared publisher, and yes, one we too have worked with, and continue to work with. Here at least, there is youth, relationships, and the potentially fleeting nature of life, love, and even crises, both big and small, all of which we believe is true and real and our experience of reading these works. But this is also where the similarities end, or said differently maybe, this overarching reading of these works is the spring board for two collections that ultimately go off in disparate directions.
AYITI is comprised of a swirling series of stories about characters who live in Haiti, have left Haiti, or are desperately trying to get out of Haiti, all of whom, and regardless of the state they are in, are trying to make sense of relationship to Haiti, its past and what it still might become. The stories are also about violence, and beauty, conflict, and not just what men need to do, think they need to, or feel entitled to do, or how crippling male pride can be, especially in a place where men have no place and no way to make their way, but in this case, what all of this means for the women in their lives, and how they must adapt, what they must give, and what is constantly taken from them.In terms of the fleeting, what AYITI reflects, is that even what appears to be fleeting, and what seems to be a momentary, lingers, and carries over throughout your life, something Gay captures as beautifully as anything in this quite jaggedly vibrant collection. In contrast, Dixon writes about what it means to be in the middle, or even the start, of the fleeting, to be young, in love, and trying to figure out and discern what it all means. She writes of the small things that every relationship is comprised of, and how imbued with meaning every touch, every step, and every angle can be. What these characters don't know is what these moments will mean later, how they will carry and linger throughout their life. They can't of course, which is what is so wonderful about youth in the first place. It is all new. Who knows what is to come. And who cares.