grama is a new journal featuring poetry, non-fiction, critical essays, and reviews about the regions of the USA, Canada, and northern Mexico west of the 98th meridian (i.e., the west). At the moment, grama is published annually.
Why does a journal of experimental writing about the west seem necessary? In her introduction to the first issue of HOW(ever) in 1983, Kathleen Fraser asked why a journal of women’s experimental writing seemed necessary. It wasn’t, she wrote, that women weren’t writing innovative work. “They were reading and they were thinking backwards and forwards. They were writing to re-imagine how the language might describe the life of a woman thinking and changing.” The problem was that “the poetry they were writing wasn’t fitting into anyone’s anything because there wasn’t a clear place made for it.”
In this spirit, grama hopes to provide a “clear place” for the innovative writing that happens west of the 98th meridian to engage creatively and critically with its landscapes, cultures, and people. The west is filling up in some parts, emptying out in others, drying out, catching fire, and pushing beyond the famed 100th meridian that used to demarcate its frontier. It’s still figuring out what it wants to be and how to address its genocidal past, its ecological traumas, its myths, and its extraordinary beauty. The west is also chock-full of poets and writers who call the west their home and who are actively engaging in innovative writing practices. grama is interested in how the west influences those practices.
Grama is here because as the west changes–and it certainly is changing–so must our engagement with language used to write about and through it. We are hoping to do more than interrogate the west, also interrogating the way we imagine and re-imagine our shared geographies through our writing and art.
Hopefully this masthead will grow over time, but for now it’s just Meagan. Hi.
Meagan Wilson is a fifth-generation Coloradan living in Buffalo, NY. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, an MA in literature from Colorado State University, and is currently at work on a PhD in the University at Buffalo’s Poetics program. Her poems and reviews appear in a number of journals. She’s looking forward to seeing where grama will go!