Below are the editors' notes that appear in Peach Mag: Season 3 Yearbook, in which Season 3's masthead looks back on its junior year of operation.
Somehow, our junior year of Peach is over. Though it was marked by the dusky jewel tones of 80s windbreakers and winter lipstick, Peach’s third season was anything but a period of hibernation. We’ve already unveiled a fresh new look—loud, juicy, springtime colors promising plenty of energy for Season 4—but it’s hard to imagine any phase could be as productive as the one that’s coming to a close in our Season 3 Yearbook. Looking back on the work of more than 100 emerging writers and artists published at our online journal—plus this year’s partnerships and events, the launch of a youth program and a celebrated anthology, and the growth of our editorial team—is humbling. I have to say, whether you’ve been here since day one or we’re meeting for the first time: Thank you for reading.
We kicked off Season 3 by launching the Peach Seed Residency for Emerging Editors, an annual apprenticeship program for creative high school seniors interested in developing their editorial eye. Energized by the young people all throughout the world who were dedicating themselves to enormous, important causes, we wanted to be sure that Peach held space open for fervent and unafraid (and often fucking clever) young voices. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sage Enderton, a previous Season 1 contributor who was entering her senior year at City Honors High School at the start of Season 3, for leading the Peach Seed program’s inaugural year and curating its monthly online feature by writers and artists age 12-18. Through the program, we were also able to invite a handful of Buffalo-based young writers to perform at our Episodes Reading Series. At Peach, we believe that creative communities flourish when they uplift a diversity of artists and art, and we are committed to finding new ways to make our publishing platform one which artists at any stage, from any background, and working in any discipline can enjoy.
For that reason, when we recognized our readers’ interest in more visual art at our website, we brought on Season 2 contributor C. C. Camuglia to serve as our visual arts editor. In this role, Chux has helped us select artists to showcase at our Episodes Reading Series and has curated a monthly #FirstFriday feature at our website. (In Buffalo, visual arts museums and galleries across the city offer free or discounted admission and later hours on the first Friday of every month.) With a killer eye, exceptional dedication, and hard-earned knowledge of the national visual arts scene online and in galleries, Chux has brought more than a dozen photographers, illustrators, collage artists, and others into conversation with Peach’s talented poets and writers—and we’re all richer for it.
Later in the fall, we published With You: Withdrawn Poetry of the #MeToo Movement, an anthology that re-homed work lost in the aftermath of editors and publishers from across the spectrum of literary publications being exposed as sexual predators or enablers. For me, the publication of this anthology is emblematic of a truth that’s as often ignored as it is misunderstood: Publishing is political. Publishing is done by and for communities. Publishing can and should be an expression of responsible citizenship—and that responsibility can’t be minimized. In With You, several irresponsible journals’ losses were our inestimable gain: We were able to give a lasting new home to work from a group of talented poets and essayists. It was a privilege to publish them, and I hope that our shared experience continues to contribute to the dialogue around the responsible use of power in publishing.
Three years ago, when we first talked about launching a creative writing blog, I couldn’t have imagined what I’d learn about the complexities of publishing. I am grateful for what I’ve learned and for this opportunity to continue learning.
In the spring, we sponsored our second annual Peach Gold in Poetry Award, this year with guest judge and personal hero Dorothea Lasky. The members of our poetry team have been deeply impacted by Dottie’s work at some point in our writing careers, and it was a joy to have had the opportunity to work with her on this endeavor to award monetary support to emerging voices in contemporary poetry. She selected powerful poems by Sara Bess, Anna Gurton-Wachter, and Aeon Ginsberg for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards, which have been reprinted at the end of our Season 3 Yearbook alongside Dottie’s own words celebrating the work.
As always, the performances at our Episodes Reading Series were memorable and magical. We began the season with an episode at Just Buffalo Literary Center featuring Chase Berggrun and Liz Bowen from New York City, Ashley Obscura from Montréal, Emily O’Neill from Boston, and Buffalo’s own Jazz De Nero and Sarah Jane Barry. We followed up last winter’s holiday party by partnering with our friends at Foundlings Press to present a New Year’s Eve masquerade at MiMO Decor. The collaborative episode featured poetry from Toronto’s Sennah Yee, Nashville’s Chet Weise, Syracuse’s Ally Young, and Buffalo’s Carly Weiser and Eden Lowinger; performances by local comedians Pat Kewley and D. Arthur; art by Buffalo legend Julian Montague; and an afterparty at Més Que (featuring a piquant peach cocktail). For spring’s s03e03, we threw Covers Night at Sugar City and enjoyed dozens of local poets and poetry enthusiasts reading covers of their favorite poems. In April, we were thrilled to present Boston-based Peach contributors and friends Emily O’Neill, Melissa Leigh Gore, Sally Burnette, Zinnia Smith, R. Lynn, and Anthony DiPietro on their home turf at Clouds and Other Louds, a poetry festival organized by the good folks at Reality Hands. And for summer’s s03e04, we returned to our old haunt Pine Apple Company, where Kina Viola and Marty Cain (currently of Ithaca) accompanied returning reader and Season 1 contributor Leah Clancy, Buffalo poets Jennifer Skelton and J. B. Stone, and visual artist Mickey Harmon.
Many of the most important changes in Season 3 happened in the background. In addition to C. C. Camuglia, we welcomed Jakob Maier, Liz Bowen, and Shayna Kiblin to fill key positions in our all-volunteer staff. These talented, tireless people make Peach possible, and I am grateful every day for their wisdom, humor, brilliance, and support. So, now, I turn to them.
Editor in Chief
Among all of the amazing things that happened during Season 3 of Peach, I was most excited that we expanded our team and brought on some wonderful new editors. I’m also thrilled that we introduced the Peach Seed Residency for Emerging Editors, a program that allows us to promote more teen voices in our publications and at our Episodes Reading Series.
Season 3 Managing Editor
Seasons 1 + 2 Digital Editor
Season 3 felt refined, focused, and ever-expanding. The work we were able to exhibit this year felt alive and surprising, and I’m constantly in awe of the way our writers are able to refresh my own view of art in the digital age. Our team’s expansion reflected this sense of diving into the future as well; new voices will always be the key to moving forward, both behind the scenes and on the page. I feel so excited for whatever is next. The Orchard Phase has begun.
Season 1 - 3 Fiction & Essays Editor
Our Peach has blossomed so much this past year in defining our cultural identity as one invested not only in experimental writing and curatorial practice, but also in the literary magazine’s place as a support network and tool for building community. Couldn’t be prouder of how Peach finds new ways to be inclusive and generative for emerging voices.
Seasons 2 + 3 Poetry Editor
It’s been such a cool year for me since joining Peach—our submissions are consistently bolder, better, and more exciting than anywhere else I’ve read poems for. It’s been super fun to get to write my first reviews for Peach Picks (shouts out Faye Chevalier, Richard Chiem, and Jayinee Basu), and the Episodes—especially the masquerade—absolutely slap. Plus, the occasional retweet from the Peach account does absolute wonders for my ego.
Season 3 Poetry Editor
The thing that surprised me most about working on Peach Mag was how hard it was to make choices whenever we had to narrow down submissions. Though the work of the Peach community is impressively diverse, it also shares a fervor and stakes and spirit that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and so drawing things out from that vibrant conversation often seems like an impossible task.