To return to The Deronda Review homepage, click here.
9 April 2021/27 Nisan 5781
Dear friends and fellow poets,
We are happy
to tell you that at long last the new issue
of The Deronda Review is now online
Since our last issue, printed just before
the month of March 2020, some things
that underpinned our world have overturned,
and we're still trying to sort out what happened
whether sometimes-abusive mother Nature
produced the little agent of destruction
alone, or with a bit of prompting from
those with an interest in creating chaos,
or whether we should view it as an angel
(a messenger) from the Creator sent
to tell us something we should take to heart
but if so, what ?
Your Editor is writing
on the morning following Yom HaShoah,
a day for memories of events which some
have said ought to preclude the further writing
of poems ("After Auschwitz, to write a poem
is a barbaric act" Theodor Adorno),
and indeed, I did not feel to write that day.
Yet I've never understood why, of all things,
poetry (not, for instance, running trains)
should bear the onus of man's blackest deeds;
the fact is, though, that since the Holocaust,
the voice of poetry sounds ever fainter
Who reads it nowadays? Who prints, who quotes it?
Is that a sign we're getting less barbaric?
Last week I heard about a protest movement
against the pressures which our government
exerts on those wary of vaccination
the instigator, a psychiatrist,
feels freedom is at stake, and urges those
anxious to keep their freedom, to unite
(I've urged the same, myself, for many years).
He has online a lecture series meant
to strengthen us in mental liberation
it's in Hebrew, here. I listened to the first.
The definition which he gives of freedom
rang true for me: It is the ability
to listen to one's inner voice and give it
some presence, through our action, in the world.
But does not any poem worth the name
come from a listening to one's inner voice?
And is that not why tyrants always hate it?
The Soviet dictators sent their poets
to gulags, or compelled them to sing false,
whereas the West developed subtler means --
the media (see Batsheva Wiesner's poem
on p. 14). For who can lend an ear
to the soul's quiet promptings when the air
is filled with venal voices bent on shaping
perception to some purpose in the dark?
Till people think in slogans and see just
what they are told to see -- and think they choose.
At any rate, our purpose has been always
to give to poems we perceive as springing
from listening to some inner voice, a hearing,
and hope that in this issue you will find
some echoes of your own internal voices.
One to whom we sent proofs* said that she felt
"melded together in a common prayer"*
with those appearing with her on the page
that was, indeed our meaning.
as usual, with some talk about the weather
(a conversation-starter that does serve
to situate the speakers in one world),
followed by poems springing from the lives
which in the normal course of things we lead,
and then some poems where the focus narrows
to the essence of the self. But then the context
of history asserts itself, which doesn't
invariably respect the normal course.
After that comes a section situating
the poem in the context of its writing,
and then a section on the theme of "numbers"
in their most various meanings for our lives
(we slipped in there some poems on poetry,
for which one term used, oddly, to be "numbers").
Next to last, some poems processing
in various ways the seasons of pandemic,
and finally, certain poems which refract
traditional stories in some novel ways
here too there are upheavals.
We thank all
who sent us work this time, and all who'll read,
and close with fervent wishes for the health
of all, and of the body politic.
Esther Cameron, Editor-in-Chief
Together we sing the world electric
and rage against the dying
Mindy Aber Barad Golembo, Co-editor