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Issue 74 cover image

Poetry, Fiction & Memoir
Theme: Ancestral Trauma
Soft cover | 155 Pages | $15

“Gripping, sweet, lovely, powerful, devastating, compassionate, healing art, everyone. Thank you for these beautiful works.”

Jordan Brown, Reader

“I see this issue as a mending, turning trauma and pain into art . . . It is the process of creating that heals us.”

Christine Lincoln, Guest Editor  



Cynthia Bernard
My Youngest Daughter Wants Nothing

Sarah Browning
The story that keeps

Lynne Burnett
The Strap

Patricia Cannon
Suitcases on Parnassus Street

Nancy Naomi Carlson
Phantom Pain

Daniel Carpenter
The Leaving Never Leaves

Tonia Dixon
Spoil the Children

Catherine Ferguson

Diana Fusting
My Vagus Nerve Needs a Somatic Butterfly Hug

Karen Hones
Dear Friend, I Remember

Eaton Jackson
My Conception

Sheree La Puma
The Bootprint

Kelly Madigan
Retroactive Baby Shower for Iva

Moira Magneson
I am

James McGrath
Stones in My Mouth

Sharon McPeters
On Having Enough

Kevin Nance

Anne Rankin
Family History (short form)

Christine O’Leary Rockey
Portrait of My Mother

Ellen Hirning Schmidt
She Sits at the Desk in Front of Me

Leah Silverman
You’ll Remember the Blood

Barbara Simmons
After You Left

Shelley Smithson
It Is Always There

Carol Clark Williams
Spaying the Kitten – SOP

Janice Zerfas
Duffel Bags Are Swelling in the Muddy Culvert


Gail Arnoff
Leaving Daddy Alone

Kirsten Backstrom
Walking Around the Block

Allegra Hyde
Baby in a Sink

Claire Kahane
Cats Go for Your Throat

Richard Moore
The Facts of Great-Uncle Wilfred

Diane Oatley
Bomb Proof

Christina Robertson
The Immunity of Milkmaids

Terri Steel
We Can All Get a Little Crazy

Peter Wallace
Ruby Makes a Call


Ophelia M. Chambliss
The Diaspora

Pushcart Prize Nominations from this Issue:

“Retroactive Baby Shower for Iva” by Kelly Madigan
“Wilmington” by Kevin Nance


PART I | The Reading & Conversation: 18 writers from the issue read their poems, essays and stories related to personal trauma. The reading was followed by a conversation about writing about trauma, the process, the challenges, and the healing. Featuring guest editor Christine Lincoln.

PART II | The Cover: Cover artist Lenett Partlow-Myrick explains all that inspired her piece, “Tears of Radiant Light.”

Original Call for Submissions from Guest Editor Christine Lincoln

We hear the words ancestral trauma and we might immediately think of childhood sexual or physical abuse, or the dissolution of our parents’ marriage, or the discovery some awful family secret. Secrets and generational trauma often go hand in hand.

But there are other less obvious ways we can and, most likely, have experienced ancestral trauma. Generational trauma can be something as seemingly insignificant as being raised to fear people who live in the inner city, or something as quietly insidious as growing up poor, or it could be something as prevalent as bearing witness in a family that did not treat its women with the highest regard. 

These are the kinds of trauma that have been passed down as easily as mother’s milk, the limiting beliefs and damaging ideas handed down as succinctly as family myths and bedtime stories — the legacy of pain that has been perpetuated by our ancestors, because they could not do any better, but also the generational trauma we have inadvertently continued, because of our inability — until now — to look straight into the shadows where these things hide, to heal, and transcend, create a new legacy.   


Christine Lincoln, guest editor. Mary Azrael, Kendra Kopelke, editors. Rosanne Singer, assistant editor. Christine Drawl, managing editor. Breasia Boyd, Ladi Glori, editorial assistants. Christine Drawl, design. Amber Campbell-Wheeler, Shira Segal, Dina Sokal, interns. Lenett Partlow-Myrick, cover painting.

Christine Lincoln playful leans over a fence in a pasture, mountains in the background

Christine Lincoln
Guest Editor, 2023 Passager Open Issue

Christine Lincoln is an internationally award-winning author and motivational speaker. Her stories have appeared in many literary journals such as Pleiades Magazine and the Paris Review. They have been read and performed by Don Cheadle, Gary Dourdan, and Lizan Mitchell.

Lincoln is Poet Laureate Emeritus of York, PA. As Laureate, she created a writing group at a local domestic violence safehouse where she helped survivors of trauma and abuse explore poetry as a means to healing. Christine has traveled throughout the U.S. and the world, including South Africa where she was the first author to represent the United States in South Africa’s annual Year of the Writer Celebration. She has appeared on NPR, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and has been featured as a “Phenomenal Woman” in O: The Oprah Magazine

Ladi Glori portrait

Ladi Glori
Editorial Assistant, 2023 Passager Open Issue

Ladi Glori’s is an innovative Baltimore-based spoken word artist, actress, and author, as well as a passionate activist. She was named a top ten poet of Central PA by Jump Street. Ladi was featured on radio and performed as part of the ‘Becoming Human; Voices to End Rape Culture’ production. She has served as Master of Ceremonies at concerts that speak to the power and vibrance of culture, such as The Imani Concert, Equality Fest and Central Penn College Poetry Slam. Ladi Glori’s passion on stage is only surpassed by her urgency to retell the narrative through empathy, self-love and unapologetic truth.

Breasia Boyd portrait

Breasia Boyd
Editorial Assistant, 2023 Passager Open Issue

Breasia Boyd is an aspiring writer with a fascination for the imagination. As a child she experimented with writing poetry, fanfiction and screenwriting. She said, “I love all forms of creative writing and there’s nothing more magical than watching something you dreamt of come to life.” Growing up in both Maryland and Virginia contributed to her appreciation for culture, arts and her ever growing imagination that fuels her writings. “I’ve experienced city life, country life, beach life and everything else in between. I feel like I’ve lived all over without having to go very far.” Breasia is an alumna of Old Dominion University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore.