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Adar II 5774/March 2014


Dear friends,


                        More than a twelvemonth has gone by

since the appearance of our previous issue,

due to far-reaching changes in the life

of the founding editor, who saw her mother

through life's last chapter and, that chapter closed,

returned to Israel and settled there,

with all the changes which that move entails.


Unchanged remains the nature of this journal,

unchanged its aim: to keep a venue open

for poems that reflect the dignity

of the Creation and of humans made

in the Creator's image, though that vision

is often hard, these days, to keep in view,

despite all the denial and distractions

designed to drag us all out of mind's center.


Hence the theme of this issue, only made

more pointed by the fact that now we both

contemplate the terrestrial spectacle

from the center of a storm which in the meantime

has only been upgraded. To look back

upon a native land that has elected

a servant of its own and Israel's foes,

upon a culture that has once more let

the antisemitic djinn out of the bottle

together with assorted evil spirits

which seven days a week, both day and night,

incite to the indulgence of worst impulse,

is to mourn what was once a decent country,

a home for equity and human hope.

How firmly we believed that life was founded

on freedom's right; how swiftly things have


Only the definitions have not changed

of truth and equity, nor are they moved

from their central position in our life

insofar as it keeps some human shape,

and poetry though mindful of what rages

around that center, still must keep on pulling

towards it, pulling us towards it.

                                                    In the central

sections of this issue you will find

what we received in answer to our call.

The note of politics we just now struck

sounds there, but harmonized and counterpointed

with other themes, and this is as it should be.

Though in the present moment we are hearing

a clang of urgency, of a clock striking

post-midnight, of a Purim struggle which,

although the holiday is past, still rages,

we hope not amid struggle to forget

what is at stake -- the texture of a life

where right is heard, where some space remains


for love, beauty and unexpected grace,

where honest minds can meet and counsel take

to generate some wind that may advance them.

For where that is forgotten, all is lost,

and where remembered, much may be regained.


Besides the issue which is now online,

we'd like to call attention to new poems

on the homepage, which were too long to fit

into the format of our printed issue

(we still do print it out for libraries

and for those who subscribe; its facsimile

you can print two-sided from the .pdf)

-- Jack Lovejoy's "mini-epics" (our name for them),

and Yishai Beckwith's "Alone."

                                                    For our next issue,

we will continue dwelling on "The Center"

and would especially welcome poems that speak

of places where Centrality was felt.

We thank you for your poems and your attention,

and hope for more good poems, and for good news.


                     Esther Cameron, Editor-in-chief

                     Mindy Aber Barad, Co-editor for Israel

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