May/June 2019

Letter from the Editor, May/June 2019, Memory

Twelve o’clock.
Along the reaches of the street
Held in a lunar synthesis,
Whispering lunar incantations
Dissolve the floors of memory
And all its clear relations,
Its divisions and precisions.

These are the first seven lines of T.S. Eliot’s poem “Rhapsody on a Windy Night.” I didn’t understand the poem the first time I read it, and I still don’t. Perhaps that’s just as well, because it seems to speak more in the tongues of reverie than of knowledge, of things almost sensed and connections just missed. 

That being said, the poem still resonates for me in the dreaminess of its language and the intensity of what is felt — there is an immediacy there, I believe: the things we can almost grasp hover before us clear as day, perceptible, yet still out of reach. This is perhaps what we feel in nostalgia, or distortions of memory such as forgetfulness or déjà vu. 

March/April 2019

Letter from the Editor, March/April 2019, Place and Displacement

“The worst things humans suffer is homelessness; we must endure this life because of desperate hunger; we endure, as migrants with no home.” Odysseus says this as he travels homeward-bound to Ithaca in Homer’s The Odyssey.

In contemplating this passage, I began to wonder at the burden that a home can seem to be, as much as it can also seem like a haven. Being a stranger in some foreign place can feel a good deal like being displaced, and returning to a childhood home can feel equally unsettling. Places that were once home can become as foreign through the passage of time as distant countries, and it seems as if this consequence is irreversible. And so, if we are, as Odysseus says, “migrants with no home” — what use is it to contemplate our lack of one?