about blood orange

How do the oranges divide up
sunlight in the orange tree?
Did salt’s teeth come
from a bitter mouth?
– from The Book of Questions, by Pablo Neruda

blood orange is an experimental poetry tarot project edited by katie o’brien. Right now, the project lives online, publishing poems inspired by tarot cards until we reach a full deck — you can find out which cards have been published and which are still waiting for the right poem in our card index. The dream is to one day publish this project as a physical tarot deck of poetry.

blood orange is committed to publishing radical and diverse works. We strongly encourage Indigenous folks, Black folks, racialized folks, transgender and nonbinary folks, Muslim and Jewish folks, disabled folks, poor folks, immigrants and refugees, queer folks, fat folks, and sex workers to submit here. We are unapologetically anti-cop, anti-military, and anti-capitalist. There will never be a cost to submitting work. For more information on how to submit, please check out our call for submissions.

blood orange uses gender-inclusive language, taking inspiration from Cedar McCloud’s Numinous Tarot. This doesn’t mean that poems in this deck will be devoid of gender — rather, explorations and critiques of gender are welcome here. The titles of the cards have simply been un-gendered to leave more space for expansion, inclusion, and creativity.

our editor

katie o’brien (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary, white settler originally from St. John’s, Ktaqamkuk (the Mi’kmaq name for the island colonially known as Newfoundland), on the unceded territory of the Beothuk. katie’s poetry has been published in journals such as Riddle Fence, (parenthetical), and HYSTERIA. They currently live and work in Mohkínstsis (Calgary), in Treaty 7 territory, which has been stewarded by the Niitsitapi, or Blackfoot Confederacy (comprising the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Ĩyãħé Nakoda (comprising the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations) since time immemorial. Treaty 7 is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. katie dislikes lying, sings a lot, and doesn’t kill bugs.

our visual artists

katie commissioned Philadelphia creative writer, designer, and digital collage artist Hannah Reilly (she/her) to create the visuals for the virtual upright deck of blood orange. Hannah is an obvious Pisces living, working, and mostly sleeping in the Greater Philadelphia area. This land is also known as Lenapehoking, the Lenape name for the Lenape homeland, which spans from Western Connecticut to Eastern Pennsylvania, and the Hudson Valley to Delaware. Infusing a citrus theme into each of the card designs, Hannah reimagined the traditional tarot into modern, digital collage stories for blood orange. As an artist, Hannah is drawn to texture, jewel tones, and manifesto writing. As a human, she is drawn to love songs from the ’60s, crossword puzzles, and green nail polish.

our funding model

Right now, blood orange is mostly funded out of our editor’s pocket. In an effort to make this project more sustainable long-term, we started a Patreon where community members can help financially support blood orange. On July 7, 2020, we donated all Patreon contributions from our first six months of existence to Pink Flamingo, a QTBIPOC-lead organization that hosts LGBTQQIP2SAA+ events in Mohkínstsis, in support of Black Lives Matter. We are so grateful to the following individuals for their support!

  • Vivienne Wilson
  • Alyssa Bluhm
  • Erin Emily Ann Vance
  • Leslie Joy Ahenda
  • Pam O’Brien
  • Erin Moran
  • Trynne Delaney
  • Angela Kathman
  • Kelsey Bomboy