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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. 

                                                        We begin,

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


*Susan Oleferuk