Poet and Editor Krysia Jopek on “Diaphanous: an e-journal of literary and visual art”

GRAPHIC DESIGN BY Dale Houstman (c) Diaphanous Press

Diaphanous Press was founded in February 2017 to publish contemporary, cutting-edge poetry, short fiction (under 750 words), and art in the online journal, Diaphanous. As a poet, literary fiction writer, scholar of postmodern literature and poetics, and wannabe visual artist (my predilection as a child was to be a painter first, then a writer), I wanted to provide a free, high-quality, e-journal to showcase and promote the creative work of writers and artists—and in turn, offer a wide audience free access to the best contemporary literature and visual art that I can find.

logo (c) Diaphanous Press

I chose the title “Diaphanous,” as the word evokes an image of a light, gauzy material (such as gossamer); a veil or dress draped elegantly over a woman or the semi-sheer, wind-tossed curtain covering a window or storm door. The word “diaphanous” often elicits images of a fragile, intricately-constructed spiderweb that can be destroyed with the swift swat of a human hand or a broom. The word and its image have also been thought of historically—as a filmic layering over one’s vision, the ancient Sumerian, Hindu and Buddhist Veil of Maya that prevents humans from perceiving “true reality” or representation; reminding us, as philosophers have, that perception; experience; emotional, intellectual, psychological responses to art and life; and the meaning we confer upon all of these human facets—are subjective and take place in the non-transparent, human medium of language that is a bi-product of civilization and one that evolves in its historical and cultural contexts over time.

As the title “Diaphanous” implies, I’m interested interested in writing and art that is slightly opaque or hazy, like language itself—that invite the reader/viewer in to experience the process of creating the specific text/image that is embedded in the final product–and to ascribe/construct possible meaning(s) and values to/for the linguistic/aesthetic experience. My hand-picked, small editorial staff and I gravitate towards a postmodern poetics and aesthetics that, as aforementioned, engage the reader/viewer in the experience the texts and images offer each, subjective reader. We are interested in language-centered poetry that foregrounds the medium of literary texts as slippery at best versus traditional, “I-centered” lyrics or straight, narrative poetry. Similarly, we value short fiction with challenging uses of language, composition, and condensed plot.

We are huge fans of writing that blurs the boundaries of genre (prose poetry, hybrid, flash fiction, micro-fiction) and subsequently, choose to feature experimental writing or writing that “leans toward the experimental,” as I like to say. Our Art Editor, Dale Houstman and I, solicit visual images that like the writing we value, are postmodern, experimental, and for the most part, non-representational. At the end of the day, we appreciate and choose to publish amazing, arresting, and haunting works of art. We have featured paintings, photography (acrylics, watercolors, and mixed media), digital art, mixed media collages, visual poetry, collage poems, text-based art, asemic writing, communal calligraphy, architecture—and seek to incorporate sculpture into our 2018 issue.

In terms of submissions, we receive a ton of poetry, a lot of art, and some fiction (not enough yet) due to the tagging of members of our facebook community and creative peers, direct soliciting from writers and artists, and now–as a result of our incredibly well-received inaugural Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 issues, people who have seen what kind of writing and art makes us swoon as well as the high-quality of our journal. In addition to the continued flow of poetry submissions, we would like more art and fiction submissions as well as more submissions from non-US writers and artists.

In our first two issues, we have published writers and artists from Australia, Tunisia, South Africa, Iran, Macedonia, Hungary, Italy, and England. We would love to represent talented writers and artists aligned with our mission statement in even more geographical locations across the globe. We are proud of a balance of male and female, established and new contributors—and the inclusion of diverse contributors in the context of ethnicity, race, and social status. Well, let’s face it, many artists and writers, yours truly included, are a bit financially-challenged due to the life choices we make that enable us to create and work in creative and academic environments, when possible. Many of us hold non-creative day jobs or temp when needed to support our art. Others, like Dale Houstman, are “gleefully retired” per his facebook bio description.

It is critical for me to note that this labor of love would not have been possible without the beautiful website design of my dear friend and writing colleague, Michael Dickel (Meta / Phor(e) /Play). A shoe-string volunteer staff who are all passionate and talented writers and artists, including, Art Editor, Dale Houstman; Poetry Editor, Thato Andreas Mokotjo; and Managing Editor, Meg Harris–assisted in the stunning, well-received first two issues of Diaphanous. Dale will remain as Art Editor and Thato as Poetry Editor for our third, 2018 issue.

Due to time constraints with my own writing, the intense workload, and unfortunately, my own battle with a cluster of serious autoimmune diseases—beginning next year, Diaphanous will be an annual publication instead of biannual with a new, small staff in place working alongside Art Editor, Dale Houstman and Poetry Editor, Thato Andreas Mokotjo. 

Our reading period and release date for our 2018 issue of Diaphanous is to be determined. We will update our Diaphanous Press facebook page and our website, as soon as we know.

I thank all of those involved with this amazing Diaphanous journey and look forward to reading and showcasing more of the highest-quality, cutting-edge, and exquisite poetry, short fiction, and art from around the world.


1. Sleeping close to the reef, the traveler holds a teal cup to the ear to hear the blue-green kelp gone lazy and dry, lost from the ink [stomach].

2. The chair in the suitcase packed to find the third shore, [w]here another narration varies.

3. In the dirt lit with Chinatown, the refrain apprehended in part; the loss of the second hand.

4. Send for the sample only to be plagued by more questionnaires.

5. The contents of the bag turned inside out. Borrowed and given back: a loose tooth, address book, bit of red mountain in a jar.

6. The lover’s eye spinning estuary coin.

7. Pulled out of slumber across the daybook filled to echo formulas for [sw]allowed halos.

8. The clock in hand the confused woman swallows the key to a diary the pages disappear waiting for the trump finale.

9. The [n]arrow boatride toward daybreak before the mountains crumbled [into] sound.

10. Pendulum’s dialectic of true and false, and all those shades of gray in between conspire hungry.

11. To prove the best design, the tincture couldn’t be documented to ensure the singular.

12. The hemlock given with an even hand, the logician attacked in the folds of a proposition, knotted in the tide’s undercurrent, wakes to find everyone missing–all of the main beams.

© 2017, header illustration, logo, essay, poem and portrait (below), Krysia Jopek and/or Diaphanous Press, All rights reserved

Krysia Jobpek

KRYSIA JOPEK‘s (Krysia Jopek, poems and poetic fiction)  poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Great American Literary Magazine, Crisis Chronicles Cyber Litmag, Meta/Phor(e)/Play, Syllogism, The Woven Press, Columbia Poetry Review, and The Wallace Stevens Journal. She reviewed the poetry of Ann Lauterbach, Michael Palmer, Anna Rabinowitz, and Rosemarie Waldrop for The American Book Review as well as literary criticism for The Wallace Stevens Journal. Her first novel, Maps and Shadows (Aquila Polonica 2010), was praised as “a stunning debut novel, beautifully written, lyrical and poetic” and won a 2011 Silver Benjamin Franklin award in the category of historical fiction. Her sequence poem, Hourglass Studies (Crisis Chronicles, 2017) was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She holds four degrees: a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut, an M.Phil. in English from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and an M.F.A in Literary Fiction from Albertus Magnus. She is the Founding Editor of Diaphanous: an e-journal of literary and visual art. She can be contacted via Diaphonous Press  or her author website (linked above).