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ILK THREE came fat with an apple in its mouth. We are more than proud and more than delighted with its contents. It is much like a cosmos, it is so full and so various.

(We hope you enjoy exploring it)

As ever, we asked our poets to respond to other pieces in the issue.

Kyle McCord stepped up to make a POEM MIXTAPE in response to Lucy Biederman’s ‘Song‘ :


After a long enough period of reading poems, I find myself hearing the echoes of one poem in another.  Sometimes it’s the image, sometimes the exploration, sometimes the method of movement in a poem.  In Lucy Beiderman’s poem “Song,” I picked three notable resonances that I thought would be interesting to look at.

Poem 1: Wendy Xu’s “This Year I Meant to Be An Elephant” in Red Lightbulbs

When I first read “Song,” I immediately thought of Wendy Xu’s poem.  Wendy has a way of winding her poems using a slightly veiled anaphora that is similar to what I find in “Song” when Lucy writes, “No you can’t borrow my sweater/Though I’m not using it/And you can’t have a bite of the enormous burger I’m not going to finish.”  I think of Wendy’s  line: “Last year I forgot/whole people until having lunch again/with those people.  Last year I forgot really/embarrassing secrets like being allergic/to regular soap.”  I enjoy the gesture of illustrating the grand using the daily, the mundane, the item one never thought could find its way into a poem.

Poem 2:  Mathias Svalina’s “One Knowledge” in Blackbird—

One of the notable lines in Lucy’s poem is, “It’s my American and you can’t try it,” which, sadly, is a pretty recurrent theme in the contemporary discourse of U.S. politics.  The mistake that “Song” parodies is the same mistake that Mathias Svalina investigates in “One Knowledge,” “There are not many knowledges/ in my head. I told her that in English knowledge is a single idea,/ supported by much, not many.”  Without getting too rhetorical, there is a myth of singular authority that still surrounds things like nations, language, knowledge.  The idea that the prescription of the majority is what should define the authenticity or inauthenticity of other’s experiences.  The two lines that follow Lucy’s line quote above take a jab at the absurdity of this sort of monolithic view when she underlines how “Everyone calls it something different.”

Poem 3: Nick Sturm’s “Red Car from the Future” in Aesthetix—

Perhaps it’s just the image of the sun as vehicle at the end of Lucy’s poem, or it’s that these are both just poems that I love, but I was instinctively drawn to tie these two pieces together.  Perhaps it’s that Nick’s line “We go out for emotions and sodas!” connects so directly to Lucy’s stanza where emotion becomes entwined with beverage.  These are both poems that travel a great distance as well, where one can observe “St. Petersburg where I eat tomatoes and create/inexplicable machines in praise of accidents and laugher” or where “The road along the water curls like someone else’s hair.”

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Don’t cry for us, Chicago

ILK is stuck in different climes, but hopes you are all successfully descending on Chicago for AWP.

We have some of our own good news, though.

Voting is now open for the second annual Saboteur Awards! Sabotage does awesome work reviewing chapbooks, lit mags and other literary ephemera and we are very stoked to be one this list.

So if you love us, if you like us, it would be darling if you’d vote for us.

And also, keep on submitting for ISSUE THREE right here.

Round-Up at the Ol’ ILK Corrale

So in the past few weeks a lot of things have been happening at ILK.

Our second issue (that’s ISSUE TWO)  went live and is here, firing out shiny nuggets of word-goodness. You can cycle back through the blog to find gorgeous audio-visual responses to our first two issues from our contributors .

But ILK is not a journal that likes to rest on its laurels — we are already accepting new submissions for ISSUE THREE, so send us your best and we may just love it enough to welcome it to the third herd of our kind.

ILK has been busy elsewhere on the internet too! Our firstborn ISSUE ONE was reviewed by John McGhee over at the fabulous Sabotage  Reviews. They do good work and we are very grateful for the kind words. We are also grateful to the formidable PEN American for mentioning us on their blog round-up. They are excited about us. We are perpetually excited about them. Another place we are perpetually excited about is HTMLGIANT, where Ben Mirov put together a selection of his favorite new online material, including Nick Sturm’s work from ISSUE TWO.

With all this and the epic ISSUE TWO MIXTAPE that Joshua Ware made us, ILK has been overwhelmed with the love. We hope you are feeling it too.

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We are here

This is our debut issue. Like all first births, there came the unexpected.


But it’s a tough issue. It survived  ordeals and has arrived bearing gifts.
You can start unwrapping these here.


Should we tell you anything?

 Alright, we’ll tell you there are fleshy weather systems to Tetris bricks to lips against the screen door, but we won’t steal the surprise from you by shouting them ourselves.


Our contributors are from all over. These words have seen worlds and aren’t embarrassed to tell you about it.


There is one thing all the pieces in the newborn ILK Journal know, but our closing poet Wendy Xu is the noisy one who has to say it:


With more sparkle and pop / is the only way to live.


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