Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Note from the Poetry Editors


One way to read the poems in this issue might be along a spectrum of belief, from disbelief to steadiness to transcendence, but always with uncertainty and questioning. In our first poem of the issue, a selection from Gale Marie Thompson’s “Grief Vectors,” the speaker asks the self, “Would I even want to transcend” before giving a virtuoso performance of persistence through a long train ride despite injury—the mode of travel itself a paradox, known both for the scenery it provides yet keeps just out of reach. Later on, “[t]here is no transcendent insight, only architecture” in Kristina Marie Darling’s “Epithalamion,” even though the unwelcome repetition of music in “Lies/Isle” might wish for a more marked change. The other poets in this issue also take the poem as a chance to question the commitments they’ve made: “Surely I wished to be as I am, but I never wished for this,” Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s poem tells us. Even religious faith finds itself subject to this inversion—”god is a thief” in Mercer’s second poem here, and “faith squirms like a captured fish,” alive but unwillingly in thrall in Terrell Jamal Terry’s “Flat Bells.” These poems suggest the importance of such questioning. They mark this mode as one that is constitutive of their speakers, not detrimental, despite their seeming fluidity. We end with Emari DiGiorgio’s “More or Less American,” whose repeating stanzas and columns—and the disjunctures between them—ask us again to think about the relationship between repetition and heterogeneity, turning towards and away from the whole: “No, as in / America.”