Issue Five

Editor's Note

“Tell them about the important work we’re doing while Rome burns.”

- Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican of Virginia, talking sarcastically about the congressional agenda. (src: New York Times)

As we watch the ending of another presidency, and as we wade together through the waters of a new and unnecessary economic crisis, I wonder to what extent the poems that are being written today engage this troubling reality as much as they engage the realm of romance or personal circumstances.  I wonder whether they merely exist within a historical context, or exist because of that context.

And so, it is the astonishment of Rome dissolving once again (if I may quote my own poem) that ought to tenant the soul of any poem addressing the world outside the self.  If indeed poets are, as Shelley put it, the unacknowledged legislators of mankind, then surely it is time for them to actually prosecute the forces of evil for crimes against their own country.  If not to vindicate the existence of American literature, than to put forth in great clarity the rage and anguish of a people afflicted by and ultimately judged upon the actions of an incendiary president—one who, if I may, does not represent all of us any more than we alone represent all of humanity.

Indeed, who among us will take up this endeavor?  That is the question I wish to leave you with today—a question I hope you will take with you in your pursuits over the coming months.

Putting aside the overtly troubling events of the present day, I present you with our newest issue.  This issue represents something of a unique departure from our previous issues as it is an entirely unsolicited one.  As things progress, we will be rolling out new features while expanding the scope of this journal.  Stay tuned.

All best,

J.M. Spalding
October 2008
New York