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Dear Reader,


When I was about 16 or 17 I attended a small poetry workshop in Providence, Rhode Island. In the most beige-washed, quietest of towns, in response to a prompt so overused and mundane I can’t even remember what it was, I remember one of my peers wrote an extremely short poem titled “Love is a Totalitarian Fire” and shared it with the class. Love is a totalitarian fire! Reader, I seriously considered quitting poetry right then and there. The boldness of that metaphor, the punch that title delivers… I could go on and on. Anyway.


A few years have passed since then, and I haven’t quit poetry yet, though I’ve definitely come across some more poems and poets that have made me question that choice. Instead, I decided that I would create a publication that could be a home to the same kind of work. Writing that is daring and devastating all at once. After some more months of planning and preparing, here we are—the first issue of Heartburn Review, filled with burning poems that demand to be seen.


Before you go any further, I have to apologize; originally, this issue was scheduled to be released sometime in May 2021, but a mix of Gmail black holes and an unexpected influx of feedback requests slowed us down by almost two months. Running a publication is more work than I ever imagined it would be, which is why I’m doubly grateful to everyone who has supported us so far. To everyone who has subscribed to our newsletter, everyone who has followed us and shouted us out on social media, all of our incredible submitters and contributors—thank you, for your patience and warm love. You are the gasoline behind this spark.


If you are still reading, I would like to thank you, too—for being an audience to our growing, feverishly glowing flames. I hope you enjoy your stay.


Sal Kang (they/them) | EIC | Heartburn Review







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