Here, here, here is a piece that catches the reader in its chase, the syntax of phrases such as “fall trout thrum south,” thrumming nearly tangible in the sound. In Jacqueline He’s poem, “night/compels a narrative that lingers in the mouth like an aftertaste(,)” as does the fox spirit, He’s poem first questioning this spirit, then embracing it. Intertwining language and imagery, mythology and musicality, He transcends the page line after, and line upon, line. — Robby Auld


狐狸精 // fox spirit   

after mary szybist


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Jacqueline He is a high school junior from the Harker School in San Jose, California. She was recently named a 2017 YoungArts Finalist in Writing, a 2017 Virginia B. Ball Writing Contest Finalist, and a 2016-2017 American High School Poets Just Poetry !!! National Winner. Her poetry was recognized by Princeton University and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and was featured in Teen Ink (Editor’s Choice Award), the Eunoia Review, Brouhaha Magazine, Effervescent Magazine, and Moledro Magazine.

Honorable mentions: Hadassah Amani (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Sarah B (Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ); Jake Bracha (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Anna Butcher (Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, AL); Madi Carr (Westfield High School, Westfield, IN); Haemaru Chung (Trinity School, New York, NY); MarQuel Horton (Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, New Haven, CT); Olivia Hu (Port Moody Secondary School, Port Moody, BC); Nadia Jo (Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA); Madina Malahayati (Global Jaya School, Bintaro); Roman Maksimov (Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy, Woodburn, OR); Mercy Moncada (Cristo Rey Boston High School, Dorchester, MA); Nyaila Newbold (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Gabriella Quintero (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Tarik Shwaish (The Gifted School of Basra, Iraq); Cindy Song (Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville, MD); Kevin Song (Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, NY); Katherine Soupiset (Alamo Heights High School, San Antonio, TX); Abby Tow (Keller High School, Keller, TX); Mia Valenzuela (Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, CA); Tyler James Vivas (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Lisa Yuen (Westerly High School, Westerly, RI)



An irrefutable tenderness permeates Emily Tian’s “China Canteen,” as the speaker gazes into the self-hood of her father, whose identity is pressed and pushed by the world at large “like a muddied tire.” This language has a unique grace, watching  “the god inking thank you/thank you/thank/you on the supermarket bags growing like calla lilies,” watching “peanut oil beating itself into rain.” Tian’s intuitive craft allows for poignant attention; free of judgment, this is a watchful poem, reliant on image, honoring a father, a culture, and language as one.  – Sophie Klahr



China Canteen


Come New Year’s, and my father becomes Jun
again, meaning soldier, my grandmother’s prayer
for strength. Other days he wheels from Juan, to June
to John, like a muddied tire, the telephone only ringing for John.

Tonight, though, his voice hushes over the soft ablution
of a year. The soot in his hair washed by monolid god, by no god,
by the god inking thank you/thank you/thank
you on the supermarket bags growing like calla lilies.

Forget slow linting of green cards on tabletops. Forget the
stumble-stop s and the bowed v. Memory welts inside him,
siphoned from his windpipes through the unlatched
window, where the sun waits like a flame.

Monsoon fryer: peanut oil beating itself into rain.
Wine poured in great smooth drags, and gulped down like a fish-man.
Fish and fortune taste the same in his mouth. Nian nian you yu
The light stammers so gently he could cry.



Emily Tian was born in 2001 and is a junior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Her poems have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Words Dance, The Cadaverine Magazine, The Claremont Review, and National Poetry Quarterly, among others.

Honorable mentions: Payton Carlson (Blue Valley Northwest High School, Overland Park, KS); Savannah Rae Clark (Plainview High School, Glenmora, LA); Rachel Dalai (Academy at Penguin Hall, Wenham, MA); Archika Dogra (Interlake High School, Bellevue, WA); Mai Hoang (Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH); Heather Jensen (Red Mountain High School, Mesa, AZ); Ralfo Manzur (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Anika Prakash (West Windsor- Plainsboro High School South, West Windsor, NJ); Mateo Strickland (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Miracle Thornton (Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI); Valerie Wu (Presentation High School, San Jose, CA); Jessica Xu (Haynes Academy and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA); Adam Zhou (International School Manila, Philippines)


“Revolution is a / big word,” writes Sarah Feng. The title of this poem translates in English to “Today, I can speak,” and it seems almost unimaginable that the speaker in this situation would be able to engage with language in any way except through poetry — how better to cry out against oppression? And how to speak in any way except through poetry when the body has been slated for execution? Here there is purity and relentless conviction, a rich embrace of the still-sensual world of “heat-bruised passionfruit,” even as the sky breaks over a voice soon to be silenced. — Sophie Klahr





Thousands of students march through the capital [Beijing] to Tiananmen Square in April 1989, calling for a more democratic government. In the weeks that follow, thousands of people join the students to protest against China’s Communist rules. After several weeks of demonstrations,
Chinese troops entered Tiananmen Square on June 4 and fired on civilians. It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 people were arrested during and after the protests.

Several dozen people have been executed for their parts in the demonstrations.


(call me a nationalist, or
call me an inmate.)

mother, do you know:
at seven intersections,
lights blink green.
a flood swarms around
the metal ark.
sky splitting open,
seven pairs of lips
glow a pulpy red.
our motherland made up
of plumes of screeching smog.

(mother, i no longer taste salt
when i speak.)

i wonder if noise
could marble skin.
thrashing, i stream
down legs and
through breasts,
lay myself bare
on tiled domes of tiananmen, curl up
in heat-bruised passionfruit
splitting by the butcher.
revolution is a
big word & so is

the wind shreds the portrait
of old Mao into confetti.
i strip myself bare
& dance in the ribbons.

mother, i am writing to you from my prison cell.
tomorrow, at eight, my execution.

we drink the catharsis with our hands.
i am gulping down the air
until my mouth bleeds like our flag.

[1] Today, I can finally talk again.

[2] I love my country.




Sarah Feng is 14 and a sophomore at Pinewood School. A National Poetry Quarterly Best of Issue scholarship recipient, she is the author of 2 self-published novels and a 2017 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship poetry mentee. Her work has been recognized by the regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Willamette Writers, and the California Coastal Commission, among others, and has been published/is forthcoming in the Storm Cellar Quarterly, the Rising Phoenix Review, and the Los Angeles Times Insider. She interns at the Blueshift Journal and reads prose for the Glass Kite Anthology.

Honorable mentions: Anisha Bellamy (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Cleo Engle (Charlottesville High School, Charlottesville, VA); Taylor Fang (Logan High School, Logan, UT); Eli Frievalt (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Kanchan Naik (The Quarry Lane School, Dublin, CA); Megan O’Donnell (Mt. Blue High School, Farmington, ME); Ilana Sabban (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL)

TEEN SEQUINS 2017, Day 1: “Sensitivity ” by Bella Komisarjevsky, AGE 13

Bella Komisarjevsky’s poem begins and ends with the same line, which echoes in a multitude of ways. At once self-deprecating, gloating, and knowing, Komisarjevsky’s “Sensitivity” is stronger for it, and more complex. “Honey drips from my mouth/and leaves a taste on everyone’s/tongue except yours(,)” but this poem has stuck in my mind since the first read. Komisarjevsky’s voice is one to follow. — Robby Auld




I must be so tiring.
Our tears mix in
a rain gutter kind of way
and each time I am reminded
that you and I are indescribably
different and how you’ll
never be so invested in me
as I am, you.
Honey drips from my mouth
and leaves a taste on everyone’s

tongue except yours
and now I’ve never wanted
you to like honey more.
I must be so tiring.


Bella Komisarjevsky is a published writer in 7th grade at Miami Arts Charter. She writes for fun and for school, and it is something she’s planning to pursue in the future.

Honorable mentions: Zora Brobbey (Ghana International School, Accra); Briana Gonzalez (Miami Arts Charter, Miami, FL); Bella Koschalk (Herbert Hoover Middle School, Potomac, MD); Jenny Wu (Lawson Middle School, Cupertino, CA)


A mouth full of honey, the voice of a prisoner; fish and fortune; foxtails and ghost mothers; marred light and boyhood—theses are glimpses of the outstanding poems we’re delighted to present in this year’s Teen Sequins feature.

2017 marks the third year of our celebration designed to honor teenage poets, and as usual, we could not be more grateful for the opportunity to read submissions from each and every inventive and brave young writer who has decided to trust us with their work. By presenting the work of teen writers with the platform of an internationally distributed print journal like Gigantic Sequins, we are singing from the rooftops that no matter your age or your experience, the literary world is yours.

This year, 126 teenage writers made our job very hard, which, as we’ve said in years past, is what every literary editor hopes for—to receive so much excellent work that it is difficult to choose just a few poems to present to the public. Our 2017 featured poets are Bella Komisarjevsky (13), Sarah Feng (14), Emily Tian (15), Jacqueline He (16), Sabine Holzman (17), Lucie Richter-Mahr (18), and Juniper Cruz (19). Each of these writers embrace and utilize language in a way that is uniquely compelling, thoughtful, and memorable. Engaging nature, mystery, identity, family and mythology, these poems truly shine. We hope that you will enjoy this week-long feature, as each day we present a new writer flinging open the windows of their imagination.

Happy reading, and happy writing.


Signing off, with gratitude,

Sophie Klahr and Robby Auld

Teen Sequins co-editors


It’s the end of the summer, shiny people, and we’re hard at work getting out our next issue. While it’s far too hot to even deal, our creative non-fiction contributors haven’t been slowed down. Here’s a little taste of what they’ve been working on:

Jake Little (8.1) has a mesmerizing new piece called “During my shift at the Circle K, a young girl asks for cigarettes” at Rabble Lit!

Justin Carter from 7.2 has two pieces of micro prose the New South Journal called “Memory In Which Nothing Happens” and “Slow Erosion”.

Alex McElroy (5.2) is busy writing reviews for the Atlantic! Here’s one he did on a debut novel about the dark side of athletic greatness called Stephen Florida.

Maia Dolphin-Krute from 8.2 wrote a book about “illness not as a metaphor” called GHOSTBODIES, which you can order directly from the site!

J. Bradley (7.1) has work that made the “longlist” over at WIGLEAF!

Lastly, an enormously heartfelt congratulations to Colette Arrand (6.2), who released her book HOLD ME GORILLA MONSOON and enjoyed a fantastic reading tour earlier this summer.

We’ll see you all this coming fall, Shiny Fam, for issue 9.1 and even more contributor news!

Still Life with Book

#StillLifeWithBook is a little corner of our blog where GS contributors and staff share a snippet and a snapshot of their current reads.

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Sarah Shields | 8.1 Art Contributor 

Reading: Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus (translated from the Portuguese by David St. Clair)—originally titled Quarto de Despejo: Diário de uma Favelada + Sun and Moon written & illustrated by Lindsey Yankey | Currently on page: 45 | Favorite lines so far: “I don’t look for defects in children. Neither in mine nor in others. I know that a child is not born with sense. When I speak with a child I use pleasant words. What infuriates me is that the parents come to my door to disrupt my rare moments of inner tranquility. But when they upset me, I write. I know how to dominate my impulses. I only had two years of schooling, but I got enough to form my character. The only thing that does not exist in the favela is friendship.” / “The sparrows have just begun their morning symphony. The birds must be happier than we are. Perhaps happiness and equality reigns among them. The world of the birds must be better than that of the favelados, who lie down but don’t sleep because they go to bed hungry.” + (pictured) “As the night went on, he saw the flowers of a baobab tree blossom.” When I looked up what a baobab tree is, I was delighted to discover one of its common names is “dead-rat tree” (its fruit looks like rats hanging stiffly by their long tails). | Books’ origins: Child of the Dark: acquired mysteriously. Sun and Moon: borrowed from the Huntington Beach (Central) Public Library.



meg willing | Art & Design Editor  

Reading: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker | Currently on page: 49 | Favorite lines so far: “Should I answer the phone / Who is it / Who want the world like it is / Spoke Baraka can you hear him now / Do you understand / Are calories and sitcoms / Here to make me sad / Am I a moon no one sees / Does my lipstick look okay / Am I growing tired / Of my alternative lifestyle / Or would I like a fresh glass / Is there something spectacular / In fallen trees ancient hieroglyphs / Hippie towns twentysomethings will they / Save us / Is it possible to disappear / What’s it like to be the first anything” (from “The President’s Wife”) | Book’s origin: Arrived in the mail one afternoon, an unexpected gift from my friend Alana.