Fall 2015, Volume 19

From the Poetry Editor

One of the excitements about being an editor is the ability to work with writers you really admire, sometimes with writers you’ve admired for quite a while. A few years back I heard a Poetry podcast that included a conversation with Reginald Dwayne Betts. At the time he had published one volume of poems and a memoir, both revolving around his experience as a juvenile in the prison system. He’s now finishing his law degree from Yale and has just come out with a new book of poems called Bastards of the Reagan Era. At the time, I was taken with his perspective on poetry, on language, on life, and when I heard about his new book I sent him a line to see if we could feature it. A few emails later, and here we have two poems from the book, a review, and an interview.

Heidi Lynn Staples’ first book, Guess Can Gallop, was one of the first books I ever reviewed, and I’m happy to say that I was able to swindle three of her signature poems with their boldly playful style for this issue, which also features dazzling new poems by Doug Anderson, Daniel Aristi, Christopher Buckley, Diana Decker, Cathy Guo, Philip Nast, Stan Sanvel Rubin, and James Valvis, paired with fiction by Matt Basiliere, John Brantingham, Susan Chamberlain, Casandra Hernandez Rios, David Long, Matt McGowan, and Robin Uriel Russin. To top it off, we’ve got a killer gallery of art by Jeremy Freedman as well as two non-fiction pieces by M.M. Adjarian and Tanya Frank, all of which struck me with their combinations of sound and narrative, surprise and fulfillment, the spark of a phrase and the sweep of the whole.

I often hear poets talk about community, about how the writing process is a lonely one, but also about how poets are a tribe in a way that sustains each member. I’m always in awe of the diversity of work available at a click in fantastic journals, and also constantly reminded that there should be poems out there that don’t strike me, that don’t leave me haunted, because the recipe for greatness differs for every reader, and if I’m blown away by all the poems in a journal, then someone else isn’t. This is all to say that I found myself having to pass on many good poems for this issue, and I’m full of appreciation and hope that I’ll see those poems appearing in other journals finding the right readers at the right moments.

No editorial would be complete without conveying my heartfelt thanks to our web guru, Rochelle Cocco, our art curator, Jack Miller, and our Saintly Supervisor, Bonnie Bolling. It’s truly a team effort to make this thing tick, and I can’t say enough about how great it is to work with great people. 


                                                                                     — Bill Neumire