In Rae Gouirand’s “Japanese Maples,” which opens our selection of poems this issue, the speaker muses, “Maybe I just want to find a maple tree and be / near it.” These lines suggest an openness to possible connection, to not presume the how, what, or why of such an experience. Depending on the outcome of that nearness, Gouirand suggests, we may change our course.
The poems that follow in this issue take up similar kinds of attention, finding anchoring principles to be near to in order to explore from, asking what happens in the space between proximity and touch. Not everyone has the privilege of making that choice, however, as several of these poems also explore—as Melissa Dias-Mandoly writes, some things are “ok to have but not to hold.”
A swim meet, motherhood, bodily orientations, the circulation of images on the internet and television—we invite you to read through the issue to learn how our poets begin with recognizable moments-in-the-world and travel to a place that becomes—to use an example from Sally Rosen Kindred—a “red horse painting itself across a cliff.” We hope these poems will paint you with them.
Kelly Andrews, Cameron Barnett, and Sam Corfman
The Poetry Editors