I’m admittedly a bit of a homebody, but the idea of travel always sounds exciting, and Cargo Literary offers up that exciting feeling of going somewhere new, all from the comfort of your computer chair, or, if you’re less of a homebody than I am, your airplane seat on the way to your next destination.
Hilary Brewster pens “Traveling in the Time of Trump,” detailing her travels abroad during the 2016 United States presidential election. Wherever she travels, the election—or more specifically, Trump—seems to come up in conversation. She writes of wanting to reach out to other Americans traveling in moments of pain in the shadow of the Pulse nightclub shooting, of finding opposing viewpoints at points when she does find other Americans, and finally of the election results when she concludes: “I, like everyone else, will stay, even though despondent, frantic Americans crashed the Canadian immigration website as Hillary conceded. It’s what we do. We stay,” continuing to push against the current. This timely piece gives a different view to the election we saw from home.
Three poems by Pui Ying Wong are included in this issue, my favorite being “The Night Moves,” which takes us away from home. In beautiful, dreamlike language, night settles over a landscape:
with funnels of clouds
and rains like steam engines
on the parched mouth of suburb
and hooded stars
hissing coffee pots
It settles over the speaker, “ensconced / in the catacomb of sleep,” allowing us to travel, floating and weightless with it.
The photography in this issue is as stunning as the poetry. Beatriz Menéndez’s set of photos “the one who always goes out with his net will catch birds sometimes” showcases the muted colors of the Scottish Highlands in winter. Foggy landscape shots bring viewers into winter, giving me chills as I repeatedly scrolled through the photos, absorbing each detail. Charity Becker’s “Perspectives” photography is equally arresting, bright colors and creative angles creating a hypnotic collection to get lost in.
Ellen Girardeau Kempler in “In Japan: 5 Anti-Selfies” uses haiku and smartphone photography to practice the poetic form, noting how “tradition and technology collide” within the country of Japan. I enjoyed seeing the ways Girardeau Kempler draws connections between her words and images, tradition and technology colliding within the very act of her writing haiku and pairing them with photos taken with modern technology.
Elsewhere in the issue, Tim Corrigan takes us to Syria in “Quieter Suns: An Expat Remembers Syria 2008-2011,” Justine Dymond brings us to France in “A New Regime in Paris,” and Evan Balkan carries us to Mississippi, the photography accompanying his essay setting the scene. No matter which piece readers choose to start with, they’re guaranteed to be whisked away from their seat to locations across the globe. In poetry, nonfiction, and art, Cargo Literary ignites readers’ spirit of adventure, inviting us along for the journey.