Poetry is a beautiful, joyful art—no matter how dark its subject matter. It’s a celebration of our voices, our ability to raise them, the lives we’re inhabiting and sharing, and, yes, also, a celebration of those who are willing to read and listen. We answer our recent State of the Union issue with this, our 2017 National Poetry Month issue, and we’ve filled it with jubilation and triumph, a mix of young and experienced voices, optimism and strength. These poets are speaking out. They are simply “saying it,” as Zeina Hashem Beck’s poem tells all of us to do.
We hope you enjoy Silverman’s birthday cake celebration with Bukowski, Nabila Lovelace’s pledge of devotion to her mother and mother-country (even by protesting its bad behavior), Araguz’s walk down the street in his old neighborhood, Huey’s building a snowman with his son, Beck’s and Clark’s voices raised, Prince’s affair with the river, and on and on and on, ending with Nurkin’s erasure poem (so inventive, so lively—exactly what makes us love and look forward to the future of 21st-century poetry).
We admit that this issue also fills us with a bit of sadness as Camille Dungy steps away from serving as our poetry editor because she’s moving on to act as the poetry editor at Tin House. We wish her well and thank her very much for making her time with us a terrific partnership. Always, she has been warm, generous, and spot-on in her selections of our poetry content—as evidenced by the poems that live in these pages.
On the flip side, we’re pleased to announce that Geffrey Davis will be serving as our new poetry editor. Davis is the author of Revising the Storm, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Finalist. He also co-authored, with poet F. Douglas Brown, the chapbook Begotten. Davis’s honors include fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center as well as the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, among others. His poems have been published by The Academy of American Poets, Crazyhorse, The Greensboro Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Mississippi Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Ploughshares. Davis teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Arkansas. We much admire Revising the Storm; if you haven’t read it, you should. Learn about Davis’s art.
Also, this semester, we began moving into larger office space. Not simply a large one-room office but now: a suite! Sweet! At the end of the semester, as this issue went to print, everything in the new space was still a wreck; everything in the old space seemed to be lingering. We hadn’t yet cleared away the last of the shelves and drawers. But we’ll have finished the relocation by the time this issue arrives in your mailbox. The migration slowed us down some this semester, but we’ll hit the ground running in the fall. We’ll see you again in August—
For now, you can purchase the NaPoMo issue right here.
Leslie Jill Patterson