What we have to offer you this time around is, we hope, more sustenance. More art for strange times, art that recognizes perhaps that all times are strange times, but that seeking & resilience are also always present. Most of these poems inhabit that vulnerable place of an unfinished uncertainty; most of these poems are calling out in the semi-darkness, still trying to find their way, which is what we like about them. Their speakers are just as real & human as we are, but they (& we) are doing our best.
First, consider the art itself, the art that surrounds the poems—and, for this issue, contains poetry, too. Sonja Johanson gives us beautiful erasure poems created “using plant materials as a way of celebrating and mourning our current ecological state.” The words are as beautiful as the petals & fruit that cover them. We find her work gorgeous, and a lovely reminder to remember we belong to this earth.
Next, consider the issue’s interview. “I love how powerless poetry makes me feel—you can’t force a poem to be good—at the same time it makes me feel so powerful—I had no idea I was feeling X, or that I would say it like Y, etc.,” says P. Scott Cunningham. He also speaks about O, Miami, and poetry reaching closer to communities. We love the reverence with which he treats the craft, the humility of the interconnectedness of the form—we hope you will, too.
Then, consider the poems, the poems that look whether or not they find. “Sometimes I want to unzip my neck,/ let the bullshit I’ve tuned out leak from my head. Say,/ take me back to the mechanic,” Maggie Graber writes. “Noam Chomsky on the radio, voice thin: the world will end./ I spend my money on almond butter to feel better.// Water, of course, nuclear war/ over water,” Ashley Roach-Freiman writes. “2017, and there is racism,/ and there is rape, and there is a dragonfly/ like a tiny sparkling passenger plane/ that is at this moment/ with its lateral propellers/ fuzzing around a dead possum/ in the street,” Ephraim Scott Sommers writes. Perhaps the most telling quote to end on is Emily Lake Hansen’s question: “what is home if you have/ to remake it?” This is the world we live in; these are the worlds we live in. May we all do our best.