Arts News

Utah County queer literary journal releasing fifth issue Tuesday

peculiar, a queer literary journal founded by Utah Valley University alums Jack Garcia and Aaron Gates, is releasing its newest edition of prose and poetry authored by Utah-affiliated queer writers. The release night for issue 5 will be hosted at Pioneer Book, located at 450 W Center Street in Provo, and is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17, at 6:30 PM.

A celebration of creation and individuality, the event is open to the public and will be immediately followed by a poetry open mic, which will conclude the evening. Copies of the journal will be available for purchase for $12, cash or credit.

In his foreword, Aaron Gates, co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of peculiar, states, “Hope can be creation… As you read this issue, see what now exists that once didn’t until these creators gave it life. These queer voices are the voices of creation, of rebellion, of hope….”

peculiar was founded to provide a unique platform for the prose, poetry, art, and photography of Utah’s LGBTQ+ writers and artists, and derives its name from “a peculiar people,” a nod to Utah’s LDS pioneer heritage. Co-editor-in-chief, Jack Garcia, says of the journal, “This collection of writings is our cry, our roar, our prayer, our lament, and the gnashing of our teeth.”

A few excerpts from issue 5:

Sophie Blair— “i sipped the oil and wiped my mouth. polished eyebrows, noon-day luster. vague idealistic adequacy in the evening chill, cold so sodden it was almost black. fly, baby, fly—”

Jake Francis—“I crave that connection/stripping through my skin/into my head/hanging my chest/in tendril vines…

Marco Anderson—“I just want to explode with you again./Push farther and farther into the clouds/until it’s just us, the stars, and our lips.”

Greg Bayles—“I will suck in and breathe free, will breathe freer/in my gay paints than in the straight/jacket you wanted me to wear.”

Tuesday’s release party will begin with readings by the issue’s featured writer, Jayce Grimshaw, followed by published poets Bonnie Shiffler-Olsen, R. Madison Haymore, and Sophie Blair. Other writers appearing in issue 5 include Jake Francis, Marco Anderson, Greg Bayles, Keith Turner, Alithia Zamantakis, Brianna Cluck, Daniel Cureton, Jordan Winter, Hannah Slind, and Dain Broadbent.

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