Fall 2017, Volume 23

From the Poetry Editor

Welcome to the Fall 2017 issue of Verdad! As I write here in central New York, winter is coming, but in the depths of cold, we hold our most vibrant celebrations of light and warmth to tide us over until spring. This issue features poems that take us to places of tough solace, of lonely compromise, as in Kelli Russell Agodon’s ‘Lonely Together’ in which the speaker concedes a secret:

If you want me to reveal her
       secret—it’s that it’s easier to pick up cufflinks,
       iron the shirtsleeves than to be alone,
       it’s easier to ignore the bees in the walls
       than knock down the walls of a good house
       and build again.

Meanwhile, Jon Veinberg’s ‘First Night with a Hundred and First Love’ speaker says, “you can bet / my hocus-pocus laughter / that I’ll never shake your loneliness.” This interpersonal trouble bleeds into the natural world in Peter T. Donahue’s, “A Tree at Riamede Farm,” with this darkly captivating image: “A child could / fit inside, play dryad, / climb out singing of the rot.” And in Robert Ford’s sonnet, ‘Missing the Point’ there’s a fraught natural beauty through the smog:

on certain days
       when the pollution levels allow, you can make out
       —across the water—strange, impossible mountains
       smeared with snow

But there’s also plenty of warmth here, dear reader, as Lauren Coggins’s “My grandmother’s philodendron” gives us a speaker who finds the smallest of consolations in a plant, just as Dimitri McCloghry’s speaker in ‘Category Five’ says, “We break / flush as cards, but inside grow everywhere.” Similarly, the deft rhyming quatrains of Steven Reese’s ‘Then’ are a smooth solace in themselves:

We moved, once, like wheat in wind—
       various, and yet together,
       like birds with one sudden mind
       to veer toward higher weather.

And finally, I offer a review of Alex Dimitrov’s second full-length poetry collection, Together and by Ourselves, a book that has plenty to say about loneliness, about the difficulty of navigating this wintry world with others, a book that, at its heart, reminds us that “Spatial disorientation occurs when you don’t refer to your instruments / and begin to believe the whatever inside you” (31). I can’t say I know of a better way to navigate the winter than by believing the “whatever inside you,” and I can’t say I could put better what poetry, what art at large, helps us do.

This issue also features the talents of fiction writers Jennifer Juneau, Donald McMann, Susan Robbins, and Jed Wyman, as well as glistening non-fiction from Gary M. Almeter and Rachel A.G. Gilman. I extend my unending gratitude for the work on this issue from our web guru, Rochelle Cocco, our art curator, Jack Miller, and our leader from afar, Bonnie Bolling. So please, consider this the warm hot cocoa coming to you on the collar of a St. Bernard. Winter may be coming, but Verdad is already here.



                                                                                     — Bill Neumire