Fresh Ink Anthology, Issue 1: Also Liberation


Editors’ Note

For the Scribes, as an entity, is the manifestation of liberation. We started this space as a way to free ourselves from writer’s block, and it has grown into a space for others to liberate themselves from the constraints of society by using their words. Throughout this process, often times, we have felt stuck, we have lost hope, we have almost given up. The feeling of liberation saved us. We are free within our pens, free within our finger tips, free every time we admit our truths to hazy crowds of half-believers and they rejoice in our honesty. We are free, even if the world doesn’t seem to like it. We celebrate with our ancestors the breaking of their chains, and the work we are putting in to free this generation of the chains that still hold us. Our activism is in our words. We hold the keys to liberation in the palm of our hands, and we share it here. I hope that when you read these pieces, hand-selected by myself, Willie, and the illustrious Francine Emefa, that you feel the same way we felt–free.

I hope you find the confirmation, the inspiration, the jubilation you’ve been looking for within the confines of our very first anthology. Thank you for loving us as we are, and sharing in this joy along the way.

With all the love,


Co-Creator, Editor & Director of Communications

Líbera me.

Whether lowly sung from the halls of a cathedral or carefully hummed into the interior of a pelvis or chasm, “Deliver me” becomes the cry of all souls seeking refuge from the torture we know often comes with life. With art, we explore the thoughts made public of said souls, but in writing, we slowly work our way between paragraph and stanza in hopes of finding solace, silence or escape.

“Is it warm enough for ya?” SZA cries, melodic echoes pulled taut over kickback discomfort and late ’80s nostalgia, the temperature behind your ears slowly rising. The pen tip unfurls, pulls away from its sheath. Caresses the Moleskine. Drips, suspended. The space between commas, if poised correctly, does not bind; it breaks away, asks questions, it looses.

Where are the people / that write love letters / on paper at? Here, release is interrogated. What is the poetic equivalent / of taking off your du-rag? Do you even want to anymore? Are you even anything anymore? Can we be both all of the things and nothing at the same time? Are the things we want even to be celebrated if it is they that hold the shackles?

Our lives demand to be limitless. Our words make way for us. The ink has not yet dried. Steadily, we are interested in being loosed. Fourteen, lax and lithe, freshly pressed on the page. Boundless.

Deliver me, when it is all done.

Willie Kinard

Co-Creator, Editor-in-Chief


Liberation is not defined by the moment you become free, but by the process. It is our first experience as human beings, a task we know intimately.  We spend months preparing to take our first breath. Evolving from practically nothing—developing arms, legs, sight, taste. Kicking and turning against the womb, we learn the limitations of our existence. Eventually, we grow to a place where we can no longer be held in the pit of our mothers. We are aware of ourselves and our ability to exist beyond what we know. That is the process. It is as innate and cyclical to us as breath.

The work featured in this inaugural issue of the Fresh Ink Anthology explores the many ways we find freedom. How we untether from the things that feel like home but are not ourselves. The trials that allow us to decipher who we are and who we aren’t. These writers remind us that freedom has no final destination; it evolves just as we do.

And that is what gives me hope.

Francine Emefa

Woman. Warrior. Wordsmith.

Fresh Ink Anthology Guest Editor

The Inaugural Fresh Ink Summer Class of 2017


Ashanti Marshall

Vernon Jordan, III

Audria Byrd

Khadijah Dennis

Langston Deary

B. Yvette Yun

Catrice Woodbury

Carla Hayes

Joseph the Poet

Tyquan Morton

Lola Adebiyi


Steven Cockerham

Q. Gibson


Want more Fresh Ink? Take a look at some of our past works in the Fresh Ink archive.