Spring 2023, Volume 34

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

            A friend of mine was circulating a story he read or maybe it was a dream.  It had to do with an alternate universe where a certain national athletic association consisted of famous, newsworthy teams whose players played strictly as volunteers, while, also in this same world, poets were signing multi-million dollar contracts for 'mere' poems.  Very funny, said I.  Bring it on!  But, truly, on the other hand, what effect, if any, would such immense dollar amounts for 'mere' poems have on the body of poetry? Ay, there's the rub, said one poet, who earned an average of 7 pounds per play. 

            One way to consider the above example of a reversal in the universe is to address the current strike by the Writers Guild of America, of which I am not a member.  Nevertheless, member or not, I am told that the WGA will come down hard on any and all strikebreakers.  No one is to do any work for any struck company as it will seriously damage a future career.  Writers are terrified.  They have children who need healthcare and food and pencils.  They have bills to pay.  So, currently they are scrambling; are looking for jobs as waiters or bartenders or dogwalkers. Does this turn of events indicate that the WGA is no different than any other effective union, or are they indeed a bunch of thugs?  I am reminded by a friend who is in 'the business' that the guild is all that stands between writers and abuse by producers; the vote to strike was nearly unanimous.  But, ask yourself:  why are some people unkind and why are producers such bullies?  This brings to mind a dirty, unventilated, ill-lit room filled with pots of thick, overheated coffee and moaning, sweating and possibly bleeding people tapping away on obsolete keyboards--probably with missing letters, while A.I. wolves or zombies await them in the hallway and in the bathroom that, unfortunately, has been out of tissue for a week.  (Not to make light of it.  It's just that many of us have watched way too much Netflix).  Time will tell--this writer sympathizes with the writers, of course and wishes them well and wonders if while they are waiting for a resolution or the end of the strike, maybe a few of them might want to try their hand at writing poems?  Or how about just reading them.

            Because, interestingly, poets are not affected by this horror show, thus we may happily continue with our work without any additional fear and/or terror than that which already exists naturally in the hearts and souls and somewhat unbalanced minds of many poets.  Already victims of economic collateral damage for centuries, for example, poets--who never really considered unionizing, may happily continue writing.  Ah--the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

            And that brings us to a conversation about magazines, which, at this very moment, dear reader, you hold in your hands (or see on your screen.)  What would a life of reading and writing be without these virtual/literal rooms where writers and readers can connect and even join together in a literary narrative?  It's a pure and passionate relationship that for centuries has focused on a simple exchange of knowledge, beauty, soulfulness and human intimacy, and it's never really been about the money.

            Today in this magazine you will bear witness to offerings by poets and prose writers from all over the world.  Some are established writers or mid-career, but others might be starting out along their journey.  Always and amazingly, their work comes together and forms a cohesive, interesting, and memorable read.  You won't find any ads.  You will find curated art and short films that tie everything together.  All in one place, at your fingertips, at no cost to you, going on 17 years now. 

Celebrate!  Enjoy!  Write!