Spring 2022
—From the Editors

You don’t have to look too hard at Providence before the anomalies of its peculiar landscape reveal themselves. The largest, most distinctive building of its skyline is eerily shuttered and vacant. The historic river that snakes through its downtown is actually a transplanted facsimile of its former self. Each of its neighborhoods are divided by noisy, pedestrian-proof interstates that skewer the city. Walking around College Hill can often feel like walking around a movie set (in January, it literally was, when a few blocks were taken over to film Hocus Pocus 2). It’s hard to characterize Providence in one particular way to those who have never been here; the only guarantee seems to be that there is no guarantee.

The poet Kazim Ali writes, “I wanted to learn that cities are what’s under the surface, that the visible buildings are only consonants of a city’s language. As with language, one has to learn the vowels to be able to speak—the vowels meaning the empty spaces of silence in the word … the streets and buildings underneath the streets and buildings that you see.”

The pieces in this issue of v.1 do exactly this: they ring with the sound of places beyond the infrastructure we already know. They illuminate the interstices between landmarks, destinations, states of being. They survey the Puerto Rican music that links Jamaica to New York, the point at which Colorado highways become Wisconsin roads; the sourceless and invisible noise of downtown; the fantastical and alarming changes of a beloved Virginian pond; the ghosts of industry that haunt New England; a girl confined to an eternal and windowless gridlock.

We’ve sorted these writings into five categories: Ecosystems, reflections on our cohabitation with other beings; Homes, reimaginings of our most intimate spaces; Archaeologies, excavations of what lies beneath or behind us; Explorations, the pursuit of uncharted territory—or uncharted paths through familiar territory; and New Constructions, blueprints and fantasies of spaces that have yet to be realized.