SOREN LIT A Southern Renaissance literary journal... for storytellers with connections to the south. We showcase writers who are women, femme-identifying, and/or non-binary creatives. The SOREN LIT podcast provides interviews and readings from our latest writers. The podcast is hosted by SOREN LIT Founding Editor, Melodie J. Rodgers. SOREN LIT's published work and podcast episodes are also available on the official website:www.sorenlit.com
Danyelle Briggs is a junior studying Public Relations and Politics at Oglethorpe University. This summer she is prepping for the publication for her first novel A Darker Hue of You. On campus, she is apart of ten organizations ranging from the cheerleading team to the robotics club. When she’s not writing, you can catch her reading novels and using Pinterest for writing motivation. After graduation next spring, Danyelle plans to attend law school and become a criminal defense lawyer while continuing her dreams of becoming a New York Times bestselling author.
SOREN LIT podcast host and Founding Editor: Melodie J. Rodgers
Shi Evans is a research/project assistant for the Sports and Race Initiative at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She started writing after leaving the FBI to live in South Korea on military orders with her spouse. Shi draws on years of travel experience and meeting interesting people to write captivating stories. She wrote Whiskey Road and will release her second novel this fall. Her publishing company, Georgetown Literary, has also published the novel Faith for Ava. Shi writes academic articles for publication with the museum as well. Shi is an alumna of Savannah State University and has a master of public administration.
SOREN LIT podcast host and Founding Editor: Melodie J. Rodgers
Ellen Birkett Morris is the author of Lost Girls, a collection of short stories called "a varied set of tales from a skilled practitioner of the short form" by Kirkus Reviews. Her fiction has appeared in Shenandoah, Antioch Review, Notre Dame Review, South Carolina Review, and Santa Fe Literary Review, among other journals. She is a winner of the Bevel Summers Prize for short fiction. Morris is a recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.
SOREN LIT Editor and Podcast Host: Melodie J Rodgers
Tia King (she/they) is a 20 year old musician, creative writer, and teaching artist hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. She is an Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador an well as Youth Speaks’ 2018 MC Olympian, as awarded to her by Brave New Voices International Festival and Poetry Slam. Her work has been published by VOX Teen Communications and in Oglethorpe University’s “The Tower.” In her Hometown, Tia continues to amplify inner city youth voices as Atlanta Word Works’ lead facilitator and collective coach.
Guest: Tia King
SORENLIT Podcast Host and Founding Editor- Melodie J. Rodgers
Arden Eli Hill is a genderqueer (he or they) white writer from Louisiana. To preorder a copy of Bloodwater Parish (an exploration of gender, sexuality, race, and adoption in poems) forthcoming from Seven Kitchen's press, please email Arden at Arden@ardenelihill.com. Arden's recent and forthcoming publications include Hip Mama, Trans Bodies Trans Selves, Strange Horizons, and The Wellesley Review. is a genderqueer (he or they) white writer from Louisiana. To preorder a copy of Bloodwater Parish (an exploration of gender, sexuality, race, and adoption in poems) forthcoming from Seven Kitchen's press, please email Arden at Arden@ardenelihill.com. Arden's recent and forthcoming publications include Hip Mama, Trans Bodies Trans Selves, Strange Horizons, and The Wellesley Review.
Guest:Arden Eli Hill
SOREN LIT Podcast Host and Founding Editor- Meloddie J. Rodgers
Ariana Francesca Thomas- SOREN LIT Summer issue 2021
Ariana Francesca is a Black, mother poet of the Deep South, born and raised in Jonesboro, Georgia. Her work explores the positions, reflections, and interconnectedness of Black motherhood, womanhood, spirit and epic memory.
With roots as a performance poet, Ariana’s work has been featured at The Kennedy Center, The Verizon Center, The National Black Arts Festival, on America's Next Top Model, The HistoryMakers, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other international stages, recordings and compilations. Ariana is also a Queens University of Charlotte MFA, Poetry candidate and Watering Hole Poetry Fellow. Her work is featured or forthcoming in/on Netflix’s Strong Black Lead, Burrow Press, Jelly Bucket Magazine, and elsewhere.
SOREN LIT podcast host- Melodie J. Rodgers
Courtney LeBlanc- SOREN LIT Summer issue 2021
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full length collections Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart (Riot in Your Throat, July 2021), Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, March 2020), The Violence Within (Flutter Press, 2018, currently out of print), and All in the Family (Bottlecap Press, 2016, currently out of print) , and a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning.
SOREN LIT podcast host & Editor- Melodie J. Rodgers
Khalisa Rae is a poet and journalist in Durham, NC that speaks with furious rebellion. She is the author of Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat (Red Hen Press 2021). Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, as well as articles in B*tch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry appears in Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, Carousel, HOBART, among countless others. She is the winner of the Bright Wings Poetry contest, the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, and the White Stag Publishing Contest, among other prizes. Currently, she serves as Assistant Editor for Glass Poetry and co-founder of Think in Ink and the Women of Color Speak reading series. Her second collection Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in 2022. Follow here at @k_lisarae on Twitter.
Find more information here: khalisarae.com
GUEST: Khalisa Rae, Author of Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat
SOREN LIT podcast host & Editor: Melodie J. Rodgers
Brooke Dupree is a future memoirist and an English instructor at Greenville Technical College in
Greenville, South Carolina where her passion is teaching entry level reading and composition.
Brooke has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Carolina, a Masters in
Writing from Coastal Carolina University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens
University in Charlotte. She enjoys spending time with her family and drinking wine with her
friends. Brooke lives in Easley, South Carolina with her husband and daughter.
Guest: Brooke Dupree- SOREN LIT Summer issue 2021
SOREN LIT podcast host: Melodie J. Rodgers
SOREN LIT Podcast- Summer issue 2021. www.sorenlit.com
Podcast Host and Founding Editor, Melodie J. Rodgers
Leslie Peterson grew up in rural middle Georgia, and lives there still, working for a local non-profit and trifling occasionally with poetry and stories. When she's not working or writing, she can be found wrangling a plethora of creatures from cats to quail or coaxing her hazard garden to grow...
i, too, collect bones
by Leslie Peterson
if it doesn't fit,
force it into the joint.
but I digress—first,
you must excavate.
red mud, hydria,
hercules beetle horns,
harvestmen fangs and legs
that still writhe after death.
sweep it all away
and dig up the bones
of your mothers.
the teeth of a woman
who stood before the mastodon,
spear in hand,
screaming hoarse triumphs.
the humerus of she
who stood with sword of iron
between intruder and heir,
trembling in fear.
the ossicles that listened
on the edge of the bluff
to the wild ocean roar
and dove into the roiling foam
like a bird of prey
and came up for salty air—
—and did it with a laugh,
do not let them rest.
build yourself from their spines and
skint-bare knuckles, and,
let them haunt you.
SOREN LIT Podcast- Episode #3
Podcast Host & Founding Editor, Melodie J. Rodgers
Aanika Eragam - Summer Issue 2021
Aanika Eragam is a rising senior at Milton High School in Milton, Georgia. She is the 2021 Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate, and her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Bennington College, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has been published in Teen Vogue and Atlanta Magazine, among others. Outside of writing, she is passionate about history and politics.
ON HOME (OR THE LACK THEREOF) by Aanika Eragam
I do not know who I am.
An American, I proclaim,
In the dry, carpet fiber syllables
Falling like maple leaves from
My accentless tongue.
It’s scary carrying culture in this country.
I remember the time I wore a kurta
To school and got teased mercilessly
By incarnadine children who bottled
Venom in their veins and ice in their eyes.
Last month, another set of snake tongues yelled
“Fuck Indians!” while my mother and I
crossed the street. To them, our fear was funny.
To them, our fear is always funny. I think it’s funny
how quickly this melting pot reached its boiling point.
I think it’s funny how quickly I learned to hide my dal rice
and starve silently at lunch instead. Mother would hold up my
Untouched lunchbox with shaking hands, fury
Rolling off her in heat waves, ask me if
We should leave, go back, her eyes pooling
Over like the village well, fists grasping
At my arms like chipped rocks.
No, I would say,
This is home.
But the words still felt
Stale on my tongue.
Everyone tells me who to be.
Grandmother balks at my hairy knees
and potato-skin arms,
Tells me to cover up, gives me a long-sleeved
kurta and leggings suited for hibernation,
As if the raging heat only applies to the boys,
Who choke on dust and smog
Untangling the village labyrinth.
Girls in two braids even like rice crops
invite me to play.
They ask me what it's like in America.
They laugh each time I attempt to speak in our mother tongue,
and I realize to them, our language is more sacred
than the air we breathe.
I feel ashamed. I feel like a butcher
flattening each syllable to make it palatable.
I feel that there, too, I am a spectacle.
There too, I only fit in when my mouth is shut.
But these girls, they smile like me,
and I want them to want me.
The next day, Mother
Packs up the tattered suitcase
Smelling of jalebi and jaggery.
I tell her I want to see the girls again and she
says no, we are leaving soon anyway.
I don’t want to leave, I tell her,
This is home.
But the crows chuckle from
The telephone line and the
Thunder cracks out a roar.
In the end,
America tells me I’m Indian
And India tells me I’m American
And when I try to be both I
Find out that I am neither,
Too foreign to be native so I
Must only be alive in the ocean-clad
Expanse between two countries,
My mother’s womb
My only home.
SOREN LIT Summer Issue 2021: www.sorenlit.com
SOREN LIT Podcast Host and Founding Editor, Melodie J. Rodgers
Episode#1- Shanna Greene Benjamin
Shanna Greene Benjamin is a biographer and scholar who studies the literature, lives, and archives of Black women. Dr. Benjamin earned her Ph.D. in English and M.A. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; she received a B.A. in English from Johnson C. Smith University—a historically Black college in Charlotte, North Carolina—where she was class valedictorian. A one-time professor and associate dean at Grinnell College and the former director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program there, Dr. Benjamin is a member of the 2015-2016 HERS class—a program administered by the Higher Education Resource Service that develops women leaders in higher education—and a 2018 graduate of the Council of Independent Colleges' Senior Leadership Academy.
Dr. Benjamin has published on African American literature and Black women's intellectual history in African American Review, MELUS, a/b: Auto/Biography, Studies in American Fiction, and PMLA. Her book, Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay, is forthcoming from UNC Press (April 12). Through her coaching and consulting firm, FireStarter, and her First Book at Mid-Career Institute, Dr. Benjamin lives out her passion for giving post-tenure faculty the strategies and support they need to achieve professional goals that reflect personal, not institutional, priorities. A Mellon Mays undergraduate fellow who now facilitates Social Science Research Council writing retreats for MMUF dissertators and serves on the UNCF/Mellon Board of Advisors, Dr. Benjamin is an independent scholar who lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Welcome to the SOREN LIT Podcast! Meet Host and Founding Editor, Melodie J. Rodgers.
Get updates on all things SOREN LIT!