Over at The GOAT PoL, our eight Reader/Advisor/Editors (RAEs) are working with scores of stateless, refugee, and disenfranchised writers, publishing one or two dozen of their new stories every week. With hundreds of stories already published, The GOAT PoL map is crowded with remarkable writing, like a bookstore or a library to which a couple dozen new volumes are added every week. These stories don’t get old.
To give readers an easy road in, every two weeks we’ll publish four new “Staff Picks from The GOAT PoL.” Individual RAEs each select a story that they especially love and write a brief “staff pick,” directing your attention to an interesting author’s work. If you like what you find, click the writer’s name on the story byline and see what you can do next. Thanks! Here are four new Staff Picks from The GOAT PoL:
Parwana Amiri’s pick: Lost in the Life
by Nahid Rauf
In this analytic, vivid, strong poem you find a deep conversation between someone lost and alone and the assurances she seeks from life. Nahid Rauf sketches different images in each verse and completes the poem by asking of herself what she has lived and who she was. At first glance it seems to be a conversation between mankind and a God, but the images in the poem reveal that anyone can feel lost anywhere in a life, and what matters is to never forget our power—the strength we are born and have been raised with:
Can’t promise to live the life the way you taught
But just be sure, I will move on and will survive
Alison Turner’s pick: The Two Tools
By Bondo Dieudonne
This story moves from image to image at a quick pace that is occasionally disrupted by ironic proverbs and surprising descriptions. This excerpt gives a taste of the delight found around every corner of this story world: “The neighboring man has got designs of bones all over his shirt, which he only washed one week ago. He could even be taken as an example of the skeleton in biology class. His steps were really well managed, and he moved to avoid any bleeding from his heels.”
Izra Rosario’s pick: I am not Hafiz’s wife
Fans of nonlinear narratives can follow a young woman, Amina, in Afghanistan, who is no longer allowed to go to school, trying to stand up for her own identity when others wish to strip her of it. We are treated to beautiful, yet painful prose like “The heat made malignant droplets of perspiration on our foreheads, around the neck, armpits, and on the lower vertebrae.” and “The only thing that eats my heart like a vulture is that I don’t remember the last time or the last person who called me by my name.” This piece will stay with you.
Matthew Stadler’s pick: The Gemy Stories
by Ray Mwareya
Gemy has his reasons to flee Zimbabwe, and he’s not one to dawdle when chasing the prize. We find him in Boston, working his way up the short ladder of the Intercolli Factory, an immigrant-friendly sweatshop where Gemy plans his battles and rubs his victories in the face of arch-rival, Amrik, a fellow fabric cutter who hails from Punjab, India. It is the human comedy slyly written by a winner who passes for unfortunate in a country too racist and inward-turned to recognize this Everyman. Gemy’s a catch! If this story hooks you, click on Ray Mwareyza’s name at the top, and read all the rest.