Every Atom | No. 32

Christopher Soto

Introduction to Every Atom by project curator Brian Clements

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Frontispiece of Whitman



When I think of Whitman I think about the engraving of him at the opening of Leaves of Grass. The image shows the poet with an unbuttoned undershirt, hand in pocket, and hat tilted to the side—this type of image was uncommon among the prim and proper portraits of poets in 1855. The image was an embrace of difference, of oddity, of the daily pulse in working class Brooklyn. This image makes me want to take a selfie of my unshaven perineum and put it on the cover of my next book. To follow the footsteps of Whitman means, to me, that anything should be possible when creating literature, art.

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Christopher Soto is the author of Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and editor of Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nighboat Books, 2018). He co-founded the Undocupoets Campaign and worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants for undocumented writers. He frequently writes reviews for the Lambda Literary Foundation.


Cover art by Sarah Pauls.