EDITORIAL REMARKS by M.R. Branwen
AS I WAS THINKING ABOUT what I should say to introduce this issue, the lines of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” kept coming back to me:
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
It seems to me that loss is the first birthright of all humans. And, of course, the whole point of Bishop’s poem is that our inability to hold onto what we love in this vast, beautiful, brutal world is very much a disaster.
If you like where this is headed so far, you’re going to love this issue.
Each piece speaks in some measure—directly, metaphorically, or existentially—to “the art of losing.” In Ayesha Harruna Attah’s “Losing Hassana,” a young girl already separated from the rest of her family and village struggles—and, ultimately, fails—to hold on to the one sister she has left; Mathea Morais’ “Superheroes” follows nine-year-old Octavian as he is forced to simultaneously grapple with the loss of his mother and his innocence; William Auten’s “Martingale” introduces us to a teenage girl paying the price for her loss of control.
Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s “Girls” and Janice Northerns’ “Tornado Vision” deal with the loss of love; Richard Weaver’s “Winter Under Frozen Stars,” the loss of health; Reneé Bibby’s “The Opposite of Drowning,” the loss of a friend (who happens to be an octopus). Claire Scott's poem “Lot’s Wife” is about the eponymous biblical legend who lost everything.
Candidly, I don’t know exactly what James Grabill’s poems are about—perhaps the loss of time?—but they will give you plenty to think about. Consider: “An amber moon / swings over the horizon holding / still at the end of its pendulum / pounding the coast, erasing more / parts of the future from the past.”
The work of our featured artist, Los Angeles-based designer Adi Goodrich, stands in contrast to the theme, however. As you can see, her bright, whimsical compositions have no trace of melancholy about them.
Last but not least, we have some comings and goings to report: with the publication of this issue, Slush Pile Magazine bids adieu to our amazing long-time editorial assistants Molly Waite and Heather Bulliss, and our poetry editor, Julie Swarstad Johnson. We are sad to see them go but so thrilled that they are moving on to greater things.
Meanwhile, we are pleased to welcome our new poetry editor, Marion Bright, a favorite author of ours, whose fiction appeared in Issue Fifteen.
— M. R. Branwen