Spring 2016, Volume 20

To Our Readers

I am writing to you today from a small, outdoor kitchen in the Persian Gulf, which is also called the Arab Gulf, depending upon which shore you are standing. This small bit of information, that chaos could erupt over the naming of things, explains a lot about what you read in the tabloids and papers.

I’ve been here for a while now, but there’s nothing I'd seen already, or heard or experienced, that could have prepared me for this place. Not a day goes by when I don’t witness something extraordinary. First of all, the heat is remarkable. And the humidity, too. Like back home, there are oceans the color of the sky, flowers and trees and birds, and there is also a desert. And the sun. Sometimes, there is even a little rain, but mostly just the sun. On a street corner outside this village, there's a man with his head wrapped in bright cloth selling fresh fish, or unloading melons. There is also a place where, for just a few coins imprinted with magic lamps, you can buy bread baked in a stone hole. This kind of bread doesn’t even need butter.

But there’s also something else. There’s the smell of burning tires, bomb-makers wearing vests, weapons brandishing, countless assaults to the senses. In this part of the world, the threat of war is a constant, and while the media initially called it 'Arab Spring', it has evolved into something that escapes any slogan or label. I am here, in the midst of it all, ruminating on my previous life, the one back home that continues to move forward each day without me. And yet, I remain grounded and connected, in a large part due to a group of exceptional people who are the co-creators of Verdad.

I’m writing today because I want to honor you. And I want to tell you, our readers, that I think so very highly of Verdad, of all the good and decent work that the journal has done for poetry and artists, for authors and for literature. For ten years. And so, we are presenting to you this ten-year anniversary edition, in print as well as digital, with hopes that you might find some merit in it. Inside this printed issue you will discover selections from our archives in addition to new work, and for the first time the pages will rustle when you turn them. I assure you that I give this to you with a deeply held commitment to Verdad, to its founders, contributors, followers, and to my dedicated partners.

B. B.