By Victor D. Infante

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Anne Sexton. Particularly, I’ve been thinking about her quote, “Suicide is, after all, the opposite of a poem.” The quote came to mind earlier this year, when Radius published its special series on bullying. In the course of that series, we found ourselves exposed to rather a lot of raw emotional nerves, writers wrestling with the tragic deaths of young people, struggling with darkness in themselves, searching for the origins of that shadow that falls across our hearts.

We return to that terrain at Radius a lot, that place marked “Here Be Dragons” on the maps of our hearts. If this journal is, as we’ve said before, an act of cartography, then those emotional badlands are exactly where we need to be headed, again and again. Suicide is the opposite of a poem. We need more poems, and braver. Poems that speak to our wounds and vulnerabilities, our fears and angers, and reveal us as what we were all along: human, and hurting, and fighting desperately to stay alive.

These, then, are our nominations for the Pushcart Prize — five poems and one essay that delve into that dark place beneath the skin, that place where we’re forced to come face to face with our own identity, and the anguish and violence that has shaped it.

Miles Walser “The White Me Talks to an Empty Room About His Skin” (Jan. 1, 2013)

Aaron Samuels “Kevin convinced me to drink” (Feb. 22, 2013)

Tony Brown “The Blood I can Draw” (June 26, 2013)

Jacqueline Morrill “Family Values (After Andrea Yates)” (June 28, 2013)

Hanif Abdurraqib “Genesis 9: A Suite For Those Declaring Themselves To Heaven” (Nov. 24, 2013)

Robert Bohm “Eating Black Mucus: Notes on language, history, creativity” (Oct. 13, 2013)

Thank you to all our nominees, and to all our contributors and staff members, who’ve continued to give this journal one of the most fearless and unique voices in poetry today. You are Radius. Thank you for taking our hands as we go about this journey, as we leap into the dark together.