Ruthie Marlenée’s new, acclaimed novel, AGAVE BLUES, presents readers with a strong sense of place—in both Mexico and Los Angeles—and a strong-willed female protagonist. The book is a gripping family saga and lesson in transformation. An excerpt, plus a conversation with AFLW’s Lillian Ann Slugocki and the author on her inspiration–and magic in her writing process.

Nearly two years since lockdown, we have had to readjust again to staying inside, isolation, remote learning and social distancing. However, as this issue illustrates, we remain open to reopening by loving ourselves, our communities, families, friends—and by embracing the absolute necessity for poetry and literature in our everyday lives.