One month ago, Jesse and I decided to dedicate this issue to the victims of the Orlando shooting. To the memory of their lives, their loves. But, as the release of this issue came closer, we were faced with more death. The shooting of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and countless other people of color. The deaths of five police officers in Dallas. Their names and faces overwhelmed us. It felt wrong to exclude them. To ignore the unimaginable violence around us. Then, we saw the bombings in Baghdad. We saw the execution of drug dealers and drug addicts in the Philippines. We saw the terrorist attack in Nice. We saw the loss of police officers in Baton Rouge. We saw hate. We saw fear. We saw tragedy. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” We have not been shy of tragedy. We have seen it in the news, in the streets of our hometowns, in the grieving faces of friends and loved ones. 

In a time when we felt at a loss for words, when we felt voiceless, we turned to our authors. We poured over submissions that were filled with love. We were startled. We were awed. We felt hope. This issue is an example of strength. These poems and stories love without helplessness, without permission, and without the need for approval. They demand to be loved on their own terms. They refuse to love quietly.

In the moments when it feels like the world is chaotic and dark, let these words be the 3 a.m. headlights, the late-night joggers, and the overnight nurses. Let these words remind you that the world is alive when it feels like everyone is sleeping. Let these words show you the heroes. 

This issue is dedicated to the victims of violence and hatred everywhere. These stories are for their loved ones, for those who need something to hope for. These poems are a reminder of acceptance and tolerance. These words are for the moments when you feel wordless. 

This issue is filled with heroes. We hope they remind you that there is light in the world. We hope they remind you that it is worth fighting for. 


With love, 

Hannah Newman & Jesse Ewing-Frable
Sweet Tree Review