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Forum XVII (Winter 2021)


It is rare now for people to stay where they were raised, and when we encounter one another—whether in person or, increasingly, online—it is usually in contexts that obscure if not outright hide details about our past. But even in moments of pure self-invention, we are always shaped by the past. In Ancestors, some of today’s most imaginative writers consider what it means to be made and fashioned by others. Are we shaped by grandparents, family, the deep past, political forebears, inherited social and economic circumstances? Can we choose our family, or is blood always thicker? And looking forward, what will it mean to be ancestors ourselves, and how will our descendants remember us?







Editors’ Note
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Adam McGee, Ed Pavlić, & Ivelisse Rodriguez




Binguni! // Fiction
Binyavanga Wainaina, introduced by Achal Prabhala
DNA and Our Twenty-First-Century Ancestors // Essay
Duana Fullwiley
Two Poems
Kyoko Uchida
The Millions // Essay
Deborah Taffa
Two Poems
Diamond Forde
Meditations on Lines // Poetry
Felicia Zamora
Ancestral Wealth: The Sacred Black Masculine in My Life // Hybrid
Tyehimba Jess
Skylarking // Fiction
Racquel Goodison
Two Tributes // Hybrid
Terrance Hayes
The Baker’s Tale // Fiction
Reginald McKnight




No More Sorrow Songs // Fiction
Metta Sáma
Dog Tiger Horse // Fiction
Yeoh Jo-Ann
Shopping for Blouses // Poetry
José B. González
Two Poems
Cheswayo Mphanza
Two Poems
Ocean Vuong
[Evidence: Personal Effects] A Purse Full of Black // Poetry
Vuyelwa Maluleke
Companion Animals // Fiction
Domenica Ruta
“Room, Room, Room, in the Many Mansions of Eternal Glory for Thee and for Everyone” // Poetry
Day Heisinger-Nixon
On Anonymity // Poetry
Bennet Bergman




Straight Down to the Bones // Interview
Sonia Sanchez interviewed by Christina Knight
Proofreader // Poetry
Tyree Daye
Women Who Fly: Nona Hendryx and Afrofuturist Histories // Essay
Emily Lordi
Night Picnic // Fiction
Izumi Suzuki, translated by Sam Bett

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