The world is screaming. Are you listening? Within these pages, you'll find a lot of dark humor-a very valid response to dealing with the grief, confronting the truth, and accepting that the U.S. government won't do enough to help with our irreversible tilting into the dark canyons of the Anthropocene, so we have to pull more than our own weight, do more than our fair share, tell our stories over and over again in the face of corporate, lobbying, ignorant, and misinformed adversity, while bracing ourselves for the worst to come. You'll even find in these pages some sparks of utter optimism among the grief. But mostly you'll find the horror, the shock, the devastation, the sadness you'd expect from such a heavy topic. There are the reoccurring subjects: fossil fuel overuse, wasted water, sinking backyards, disappearing whales, food shortages, new bacteria, carbon, pipelines, drought, the disproportionately affected based on race, religion, ideology, wealth disparity, circumstances of birth and location. Women talk about not wanting to have kids born into this dying world; immigrants talk about the refugee crises to follow; and everyone rages against the corporations taking advantage of the land's vulnerability in order to turn a profit. There are the horrifying ladies you know by name: Sandy, Katrina, Irene-and there are the obscurities and anomalies that are slicing us open by a thousand slow cuts. What will surprise you, though, is how much this devastation has caused people to pause and reflect on the absolute beauty of this world, even in its darkest hurricanes of chaos. Featuring 65 pieces of nonfiction, fiction, hybrid, and poetry by 52 authors, this anthology is a document of our times-from the anger and righteousness of those left behind, to the fear for the bleak world we're leaving in the hands of those still to come. It is our hope that this anthology becomes obsolete, but it is our knowledge of a greedy and careless humanity that knows, with sorrow and certainty, that these pieces will remain timeless.
A founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, Kathleen Rooney is the author of two novels: THE LISTENING ROOM (Spork Press, 2020) and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin's Press, 2017). With Eric Plattner, she is the co-editor of Rene Magritte: Selected Writings (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). Married to the writer, Martin Seay, she lives in Chicago and teaches at DePaul University.
Ashley Shelby received a degree in journalism from Indiana University and a Master of Fine Arts in non-fiction writing from Columbia University. Her work has been published in The Nation, Gastronomica, Post Road, The Sonora Review, and The Portland Review, as well as in the anthology Looking Back. Her fiction has been awarded the William Faulkner Short Fiction Award. Shelby grew up in Minneapolis and now lives in New York, where she works in publishing and is the co-curator of the KGB Bar Nonfiction Reading Series.