In a week when national tragedies seem impossibly many, Little Patuxent Review board member Truth Thomas released the following statement on behalf of LPR’s board and staff.
On a somber day when we learn of Toni Morrison’s passing, and after a spree of recent mass shootings in the United States, Morrison’s words on the subject of “art for art’s sake” seem most fitting to restate. Morrison once described such art as “BS”—and I agree.
She went on to say, “I’m not interested in art that is not in the world.” Again, I fully echo her humanity-embracing sentiments. All of us are inextricably connected. There are no less than, or better than, equal human beings on this mortal plane. In that context, it strikes me as a pointless exercise for us to offer writing craft tips when mass murder runs screaming through the streets of our nation from coast to coast—and so we won’t—not today. When hatred in high places inspires extreme violence from the basest among us, Sominex literature is impotent art.
Indeed, when the racism of the president of the United States fuels domestic terrorism, it is time for efforts to vote him out of office to be turbocharged with thoughtful urgency—and every justice-minded soul needs to say so. Similarly, when mass shootings entrench themselves as normalcy in our nation, sensible gun law reforms should be enacted like a sprinter’s first steps. Poets, writers, editors, publishers, and all people who—I’d like to think—genuinely care about democracy for all people, should continue to speak up to challenge the escalation of evil in our land. That’s what LPR plans to do—and emphatically so. We decry racism and every “ism” that separates us, that disconnects us from the American center of our highest selves. In that light, yes, we stand for love—a thick love indeed, because, as the beloved Toni Morrison knew well, a “thin love ain’t no love at all.”