When’s the last time you had a thrilling conversation — the kind that gets under your skin and sticks in your mind? The kind where issues of privacy or race arise and you find yourself arguing in a spirited debate, spending all evening listening to the other person, sharing your experiences, opposing their beliefs, and negotiating your own? And the next day, when you wake up, you realize that by disagreeing with them, you’ve created a magnetic field between the two of you, fueled by the honesty of your emotions? Now, imagine an organization that inspires the art of opposition — how friendly, how urgent, how intimate.
The Seventh Wave is a 501(c)(3) arts and literary nonprofit that invites writers, artists, activists, and creators to take part in a conversation surrounding the most pressing social issues of our times. It is deeply rooted in the belief that genuine dialogue has the potential to shift cultural paradigms and discourses over time. The organization is divided into three interrelated wings: editorial, engagement, and education. The online publication consists of two digital issues a year, each revolving around one of two coastal residencies. We champion artists who are unlikely to exist so closely together because of their genre, artistic expression, POV, or background. Additionally, our interview series, “Side Conversations,” is a playground through which we engage with artists, organizations, athletes, and thinkers who are tackling certain issues through their daily livelihoods.
Offline, The Seventh Wave hosts events, screenings, readings, and round table discussions pegged to each issue on both coasts, with the intent of bringing the digital conversation into real, person-to-person, practice. We are interested in building community for and with individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to dig deeper into the hard conversations that impact how we view our lives, our environments, and our relationships to one another. We also work in schools and with community organizations for our education wing, bringing our contributors’ pieces into the classroom and teaching students about the art of the written word through the lens of story and craft. Our hope is that the life of a piece exists well beyond the moment we push publish.
What’s up with the name? According to myth, the seventh wave is always the tallest in a set of waves. That is to say, the one that makes the biggest impact. Our organization hopes to pull in voices and opinions that, collectively, will crash loudly onto the shore. Waves travel in groups of twelve to sixteen, which is the number of pieces we publish within each issue. Too often these days, two or three voices are the only ones heard; we want to expose the forces underneath the surface of these issues. We want to challenge how and what people interact with, and that means starting somewhere scary and groundless, like the ocean.
Joyce Chen | Director of Engagement
Krista G. | Editorial Director
Brett Rawson | Director of Programming
Christina Shideler | Poetry
Board of Directors
Zeina Abi Assy
Past Writing Fellows