Chase Lang

You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography

Earlier this year, I took on the project of designing the website and latest edition of You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography.  The journal is in its 19th year of bridging the gaps between art, poetry, writing and geography.  This year, the focus was on “War” – the issue featured 130 pages, in full color, highlighting a few of the different ways war is waged in 2017.


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All I can say is, I was once like you, the apathy, the pity, the ungrateful placement; and now my home is the mouth of a shark, now my home is the barrel of a gun. I’ll see you on the other side.

-Warsan Shire, “Conversations about Home
(at the Deportation Center)”
from Our Men Do Not Belong to Us (2014)

Everywhere is war. Constitutional, or not. If the battles go unnamed, they can last forever. Everywhere is war. Words, missiles, legislation- used against our bodies, our psyches – making the Other evermore distinct, evermore distant. We’ve been pitted against ourselves and each other and so we stand with the barrel of the gun blocking our view. Add to that a wall, checkpoint or fence pervading our lines of sight.

Maybe we are fighting for everything, but everything is something that we will never have nor hold. Maybe we are discouraged, defeated, overwhelmed. Maybe we are angry. Maybe we feel paralyzed by all the maybes. One thing’s for certain: we cannot repeat the mistakes of our parents, nor the politicians they elected. Still, we tango with progress and degeneration if fingers are always gestured in a point.

This issue of You Are Here is coming together at a time of greater insecurity than most of us have lived through. If everywhere is war, what are the routes to resolution, to understanding, to decency and change? How do these confrontations, both near and far, impact how we move through our days? What are the traces of war left on our flesh, families, speech acts? How do we read the marred landscape, and still press on through the rubble? How do we understand peace in place?

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