Volume 100, Number 1/2
|A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown—
Who ponders this tremendous scene—
This whole Experiment of Green—
As if it were his own!
Writing, reading, and editing are linked acts: Engage in one, and in some degree, we’re doing the other two. Over time we develop, if not expertise, at least pretensions, such that occasionally those of us who send poems out wonder when we’re rejected, ‘Can’t these editors read? Have they no judgment?’ Months later, reading the poem cold, we’ll note flaws and go to the forge again. The piece may crack and break or something new emerge and, with it, a rueful gratitude to the editor who demanded better. But the question remains: What is it that we critical readers, we editors, look for?
In this, the sesquicentennial of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, it seems most appropriate to revisit the “Preface” where he gives wise counsel: ” …to speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movement of animals and the unimpeachableness of the sentiment of the trees in the woods and grass by the roadside is the flawless triumph of art.” He goes on to make these rather surprising comments: “The greatest poet has less a marked style and is more the channel of thoughts and things without increase or diminution, and is the free channel of himself. He swears to his art I will not be meddlesome, I will not have in my writing any elegance or effort or originality to hang in the way between me and the rest like curtains. I will have nothing hang in the way, not the richest curtains…. What I experience or portray shall go from my composition without a shred of my composition.”
This is what we seek: Clarity, fluidity, unselfconsciousness, poems that guide us without fanfare into what is genuinely human-an insight, experience, or mood which, though we’d not perceived it before, we recognize instantly. As editors, when we reject, we wince too, while exhorting our submitters to revise-and as writers, we celebrate in these pages the uncommon successes, all for you, our readers, to enjoy.
Poems by Annie Boutelle, Andrey Gritsman, Faisal Mohyuddin, Linda Pastan, Lee Rossi, and others.
Poets Introducing Poets
Jane Shore introduces a portfolio of poems by Nadell Fishman.
Saying the World by Peter Pereira
Peripheral Light by John Kinsella
Someone Else’s Name by Joseph Harrison
Lives of Water by John Hoppenthaler
Consolation Miracle by Chad Davison
The Window Facing Winter by Gerry LaFemina