Emma Lazarus’ sonnet “The New Colossus” has gained new popular attention of late, thanks in part to White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller’s comments dismissing the value of its message to immigrants. But, before Miller, this poem engraved on The Statue of Liberty was the inspiration for Breathe Free Press, a magazine the Editor Deborah Di Bari says was “founded in great part to resist the Trump administration’s oppressive policies.”
Published three times per year online, Breathe Free Press is a literary magazine of resistance and awareness dedicated to essayism, narrative; cross-genre; flash; experimental; critical; travel and (especially) lyric essays. Di Bari’s own background reflects her eclectic influences, “I received an MFA from The City College of New York, CUNY. My psychedelic drawings made with colored pencils led to my career in fashion, designing printed textiles and clothing. My casual journal writing seemed an end in itself until I took my first creative writing class.” All of this, further influenced by the current political climate, has now led to her editing and publishing Breathe Free Press.
Di Bari tells NewPages she started Breathe Free Press: “To keep my sanity — save democracy — resist fascism — subvert genre constraints — create a space for diverse voices.” And it’s this diversity and breaking free from constraints that readers can expect to find in each issue. “The essays we seek allude, intimate, insinuate, attempt, analyze, critique, express: attentive to language and cultural associations,” Di Bari says. Readers will get a fresh breath of “themes that transform and transgress metanarratives of authority and power structures.”
Authors recently published in Breathe Free Press include Tamlin Thomas, Alaina Symanovich, Samuel Cole, Nicole Yurcaba, Anna Keeler, Rosemarie Dombrowski, Abby Pullen, Lena Ziegler, Joseph Reich, Cleo Aukland, Joshua Baker, Robert Vivian, Mary Pacific Curtis, Chelsey Clammer, Kira-Rice Christianson, and Diane Payne.
The future for Breathe Free Press, Di Bari says, will be “Big!” Issue #3 is due out Winter 2018. Also in the works: a writing contest, a writing conference in Italy, a community workshop, and introducing and highlighting unique voices and perspectives.
For writers considering submission, Di Bari says, “We welcome, generous, graceful conscious writing: art, not journalism—in literary observation funneled through social awareness in essayistic narratives that subvert genre constraints.” Submissions are accepted through Submittable.