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24 writers, one collection

Why you need to read Papeachu Review this summer

Papeachu Review is a bi-annual print collection of creative writing by female and non-binary voices. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

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You might not like Seattle for its warp-speed pace of life, never-ending traffic jam, or the dreaded "Seattle freeze" you're sure to encounter on its streets, but the city does have its redeeming qualities. One of the most obvious is its incredible literary community, which is blossoming with new and interesting literary presses every year. Among the literary gems is Papeachu Press, a feminist publisher producing works by women and non-binary creators. I've spent many afternoons this summer sitting on park benches or laying in the grass, reading Papeachu Press' bi-annual print journal, Papeachu Review.

Long story short: I'm obsessed with Papeachu Review this summer. Really obsessed. I picked up a copy of the winter 2019 edition, which is a small, square book that fits perfectly in one hand (your other hand should be holding a hot cup of coffee, maximizing your reading enjoyment), last month. I opened it to find over 175 pages of literary gold, including poetry, prose and a pinch of visual art by 24 writers.

One of my favorite works inside is "The Beating," a gut-wrenching poem by Demi Wetzel that left me hollowed out for its sadness and dream-like melancholy. Madeleine (Mads) Golding, another writer featured in the collection, sucked me into her poetic world with "Hemlock" and "Consider Before Asking." Both poems are longer -- two pages each -- with prose-like narratives. Golding offers readers easily digestible content, with clear themes in an era where poetry can be as experimental and non-conventional as the imagination allows. For readers who feel out of their element with modern poetry, Golding's work is an excellent, accessible place to start.

If you prefer your writing a little more "on the fringe," flip to Juniper Yun's work in the middle of Papeachu Review. Yun's "things i ask myself before bed" is a haunting, stream-of-consciousness style poem that immediately drops readers into the narrator's head. As I read it, I felt like I was right beside the narrator: my head on a pillow, with anxieties flitting through my mind and questions rattling off in my brain as I tried to fall asleep.

Yun's ability to suck readers into the narrator's experience is even more apparent in "a message," a prose piece about loss, forgiveness and memory. "a message" is written as a series of answering-machine messages, with inner dialogue interspersed among them. The piece lays bare the narrator's journey in their shifting gender identity during their youth. It also exposes the strain that shifting put on their relationship with their father. The writing is at once tender and unwavering in its message. Whether or not you can identify with the narrator or their experience, "a message" will leave you questioning your own dynamic with aging parents.

As I read (and reread) the creative writing in Papeachu Review, I thought a lot about how this collection might be received by the larger and regional literary community. If there's one thing I'd like to impart about it to you, dear reader, it's this: the works inside are relevant to audiences of all demographics. Yes, they're all written by female and non-binary individuals, but the messages speak of inclusion, acceptance and of looking our closeted skeletons in the eye. If you're an avid reader and you're on the fence about reading Papeachu Review, or you think it might not be the collection for you, I urge you to pick it up and flip through it. Give it -- and the voices inside -- a chance to dazzle you with their craft.

Papeachu Review can be purchased directly from the publisher at

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