Meet Our New Intern: Zora Satchell

Photo by: Nicholas Nichols

A black and white photo of a Black bi-racial femme presenting person with curly black hair looking off to the side of the camera. They have  a nose ring and sunglasses atop their head. They are wearing an ornate, versace-esque patterned high collar shirt underneath a teddy coat with a thin chain peaking out underneath a black strapped bag that is slung across their  chest.

Stories served as my escape, whisking me away to wondrous worlds of adventure, magic, friendship, and romance. Television and movies were my initial portals, consuming every captivating narrative my parents allowed (and many that weren’t). Among them, tales of magic and thrilling adventures held me spellbound, stirring my imagination and igniting a lifelong love for storytelling.

Reading didn’t initially come naturally to me. I struggled deeply with learning to read and once I learned, I didn’t seek it out due to the memories of that painful time. But soon it became a consequence of missteps. As a punishment, TV would be taken away, and my father insisted I read a book of his choosing and write a report on it. However, the punishment soon evolved into an avenue for escape. Through books, I discovered stories of resilient girls yearning for acceptance, desperately seeking their place in the world. Manga like Skip Beat! and novels such as Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle became my companions, transporting me to realms where I felt understood.

Although I dreamt of writing, as a child, it seemed like an unattainable aspiration. However, when I entered college, the power of poetry beckoned me. I began writing poems for myself, realizing that I could also weave words lyrically. Encouraged by my creative writing professors and advisors, I started to see myself as a poet. As I read the works of Audre Lorde, Evie Shochley, Khadijah Queen, and Tina Chang, writing became a means of understanding the world I inhabited, delving into my family and friends, and how my culture shaped my experiences. It transformed from an escape into a vessel for bearing witness to the realities of life. I am immensely grateful to the friends and professors who supported and nurtured my writing journey. Their unwavering encouragement has been instrumental in my growth as a writer. They continue to inspire me to write each day, to delve deeper into the complexities of our world.

My journey from an avid consumer of stories to a writer has transformed my relationship with words, turning them into vehicles for understanding and bearing witness to the world around me.

As my writing journey has evolved, I have ventured beyond the realms of personal creativity and embarked on a path of community-based work with poetry. In this endeavor, I found solace in aligning with presses that prioritize uplifting diverse voices. For this reason, I look forward to being a part of the Sundress family.

Zora Satchell is a Black and Chinese American queer poet and cinephile who writes about mental illness, film, family, and friendship. She holds a degree in Ethnic Studies from Colorado State University. She was awarded the Brooklyn Poets fellowship for winter/spring 2021. She tweets from @Zora_thee_pony. She lives in Queens, New York.


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