While I drink my iced coffee and walk my dogs in this fine spring weather, the world is shifting around me in unsettling and marvelous ways. With the haphazard flourishing of dandelions comes the equally-haphazard (yet heartening) flourish of ideas to combat climate change. There is the continued bloom of the #MeToo and #BLM movements, and until just recently, growing alongside them all was my sense of curiosity. Much of the current national sentiment can be discerned by reading newsfeeds and watching TV, and yet so little of that information was able to shed light on my biggest question: What is my generation thinking right now? I know how my father feels about gun laws. I know what my professors think about climate change. But I wondered, what about the 19-year-old Starbucks baristas? What thoughts did the soon-to-be college freshmen have about feminism while they scoured Amazon for cheap futons?
I was hungry to know how my generation felt after maturing under the thermals of social unrest, and after reviewing the undergraduate submissions that now comprise this new issue of OAR, I can confidently say that I have my answer. As with everything else this fine season, this generation’s social awareness, and its desire for positive change, is flourishing.
As of May 8th, OAR’s exciting 4th installment is hot off the printers, and copies will be mailed out to contributors by the end of the month. Readers can expect poems that are as beautiful as they are piercing, like Briana Campbell’s “Scarlet #045,” in which an anonymous speaker reminisces on adventures they shared with their grandmother. Readers will also find poems that stand their ground in social and political spheres, such as “Negro Paranoia” by Khadijah Green, which opens with the two unforgettable lines: “I will be shot / by this white man.”
In addition to poetry, volume 4 of OAR is proud to present a handful of emotionally-honest nonfiction. Riley Steiner’s “The Lake House,” a moving reflection on childhood and family tradition, is just one of a set of works readers can look forward to. And of course, the editors at OAR have toiled hard to compile a rich collection of fiction, and everyone should be excited to encounter a variety of characters; from a pair of ill-fated princes in Andrew Letai’s “Salad Days,” to an old widower in Delhi in Nakul Grover’s “Dear Mrs. Nair.”
The next generation of writers is here, and it is clear from their writing that they are eager to stand as pillars of their beliefs, and are unafraid to share their talent, their experiences, and their knowledge with the rest of us. The staff at OAR have worked hard this year to bring you the best of undergraduate writing, and we are honored to celebrate these brilliant writers and artists in this new issue.