Our first issue of the new year is one of happy coincidences, kind of like a Bob Ross painting only wordier. For instance, our book review this issue was written by Sean Thomas Dougherty, who was the featured artist last issue in our Hoppenthaler’s Congeries column, and who reviews Let the Voices, a new collection of poetry by Kevin Goodan, who has poems in the Congeries column this month, the featured artist of which is Natalie Diaz, who also guest edits a column on the poetry of emerging Native American writers for us this issue, too, oh, and she once shared a snow cone with Kevin Bacon. Okay, I made that last part up, but how’s THAT for synchronicity, Dr. Jung?
Look, after the events of late, I’ll take any magic I can get. And to that end I may as well get this out of the way so here it is: Good riddance, 2016, you whorey, succubus, netherbitch of a year. May your dim-bulbed disastrous victory lap ever fade from existence as we climb out of the rubble left in your wake to rebuild hope and the Republic. Things here have gone rotten, two hours on the Rotor ride, the “Spin Out,” flat out with the floor dropped pulling 3 G’s, and I am sick of every damn bit of it. Hell, we all are. And not just because of this election, either. That’s the easy way out. No, that was just par for the course. This goes much deeper than that, and many of us fear it’ll get worse before it gets any better.
What then? Give up? Of course not. We do what we have always done, we write. And we write like we always have, as if our lives and the fate of the world depends on it. And we level the playing field, we level that bitch. There are far more uninformed than there are informed people making poor and lasting decisions regarding not only our lives but those of everyone on the planet. It’s our job to make that right. We are the last line of defense and this time it seems imperative that we do not fail.
Our first issue of 2017 is a stellar collection of talented artists. It is our honor and privilege to bring their work to you, and to that end let’s kick this pig and see what hope the future brings.
A Poetry Congeries with John Hoppenthaler leads this month with John’s featured artist, the brilliant author of When My Brother Was an Aztec, Natalie Diaz. Do not miss status on this one, kids. From there John delivers seven more of the most talented poets any publishing editor could ask for: Liliana Maria Ursu, Luisa A. Igloria, Anne Marie Macari, Kevin Goodan, Kim Garcia, Janlori Goldman, and Sarah Huener. Outstanding work, John. And welcome to all the new poets. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.
As you now know, in addition to being the featured poet in our Hoppenthaler’s Congeries column, Natalie Diaz is also guest editing a column for us this month. Natalie brings us stunning, vital new work by 14 emerging, talented writers, all of whom are by nearly no coincidence whatsoever Native Americans. As a proud enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, I am especially honored to welcome to our pages Jake Skeets, Kateri Menominee, Michaelsun Stonesweat Knapp, Tommy “Teebs” Pico, Monique Sanchez, Paige Buffington, Frank Waln, Michael Wasson, Franklin K.R. Cline, Celest Adame, b. william bearhart, Millissa Kingbird, Tanya Winder, and her featured poet complete with an introduction by Natalie herself, Sammie Bordeaux-Seeger. Do yourself a favor, folks. Read this column. READ IT. With any luck it’ll change your life. Thank you to Natalie for the incredible amount of hard work it took to give us this opportunity, and WELCOME, poets, to our house. You will always have a place with us.
Meg Tuite is back again with an all new offering in her Crazy Rabbit Review column. This month Meg brings us a genius new short story from the hand of Kellie Wells, of whose work Meg writes, “She is at the top of my list right now of writers who rock the orbit of language with brilliance and hilarity and my LOVE for these characters she creates couldn't get any deeper.” I absolutely agree. Don’t miss, “Chicken Heart,” especially if you want your heart to heal. Oh, and before I forget, Meg and I are working on another video this time with clips of folks leveling the playing field I was writing about earlier. We’ll be running it later this month, and I’ll be sure to let everyone know on Facebook when we do. Great job, Meg, and welcome, Kellie. It’s a real thrill to have you with us!
Last but certainly not least we round out our first of the month post with a glowing review of Let the Voices, the new poetry collection by Kevin Goodan, whose work you now already know can be found in our Hoppenthaler’s Congeries column this month, as well. Woohoo! Sean Thomas Dougherty reviews the collection, and in addition to illuminating the beauty of the work, Mr. Dougherty writes, “Gooden reminds me also of Jack Gilbert. While reading Let the Voices, I was often pulled back to read Gilbert’s The Great Fires, for the similar tone of holy survival, grief, and at times, a hard earned and completely unsentimental sense of joy.” Having your work discussed on par with Jack Gilbert’s has got to feel great. Hell, it gave me chills and all I did was publish it. THANK YOU, Sean, congrats on the excellent new collection, Kevin, and thanks to our Book Review Editor Julia Bouwsma & Congeries Editor John Hoppenthaler for putting this one together.
Well, that’s it for now, but we promise if you come back on the 15th we’ll have new offerings in our Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Wine Review, and part two of our Crazy Rabbit Review columns all for your hope-building, life-affirming, free-of-charge pleasure. We’re here to serve.
Happy New Year, friends. And remember what Peter Jackson’s version of Samwise Gamgee said:
Hang in there, folks. Hang in there. It’s all so entirely worth fighting for.