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Here, at The Maynard, we don’t like themed issues. We’re interested in excellent poetry. For us, an excellent poem is one that takes risks, contains an unapologetic voice, is intent on its subject, and teaches us something about what it means to be a human or a robot (read: Zoe Dagneault’s Story of Chitin Giri). So, for us, the editing process for each issue starts with the submissions. Each selected poem, creates and contributes in its unique way to the high-stakes and necessary conversation taking place between the poems in the issue, as well as across the poetry community at large.
Editing the Fall issue of The Maynard has been intense, precious fun. After the anticipatory work of calling for submissions and responding to inquiries, we read and re-read 390 poems as they bounced between ‘accepted’, ‘not accepted’ and ‘maybe’, only to bounce again the next day. We spent weeks reading individually, followed by hours and hours of discussion and reading aloud to one another, convincing, negotiating, picking apart poems as if to scream to each other ‘Listen! Don’t you hear how great this is?’ We noticed that even when we stepped away from the immediate engagement with the work, there was an image, a line, a quality of voice that kept knocking on our psychic doors. Those are the poems we selected for this issue.
32 voices—16 women and 16 men—and 45 poems are featured in this issue. We strived for parity, though there’s one more poem on the men’s side. We felt Gary Lundy’s poems created a ‘family’ of experience that was more whole if the poems were presented together. On the women’s side, we feature our first video poem by digital artist Evie Ruddy. For Jo Baeza, this is her first publication of a poem in a peer-reviewed forum. There were a few battles between us; Nick couldn’t let go of the quixotic solitude in Charles Springer’s Saturday Night, which speaks from a similar landscape and determination as Baeza’s poem. Jami held out for the deftly crafted and subtly wrought Can’t Stomach by Mitchell Grabois. Peycho Kanev and Valentina Cano seem to be on the same night bus, speaking under their breath; Fraser Sutherland’s Tribute, Jamie Sharpe’s Fault Vodka / Blame Juice, and Pattie Flint’s After a Fashion made us laugh out loud. Nikki Reimer’s sprawling, labyrinthine piece contrasts with Christopher Patton’s three quick, bizarre poems.
One of the benefits of The Maynard’s online format is that the order of the poems in each issue changes with each visit. As a collection, the poems in each issue present non-sequiturs like oranges, and offer a kaleidoscopic arena where new poetic harmonies and dissonances emerge, seldom if ever (statistically speaking), to be re-witnessed.
Indeed, collage is the new (old)school; orange is the new rhyme. We marveled at 31 submissions for cover art—five times what we’ve received for past issues. We feel privileged to have received so many imaginative portrayals of oranges, although narrowing it down to one unifying, emblematic image to accompany the poems was no easy task. We settled on Ebony Jansen’s collaged orange, Glad I didn’t say.... We’re drawn to its qualities of the messy and compounded, magnetic and complex. Its apparent formal simplicity contains a cacophonous texture and layered density. That’s the way we’d describe the poems in the issue as well.
Now, we invite you to join the conversation as you read and listen to these poems, gathered here as they are.
Happiness to your eyes and ears and hearts,
Jami Macarty and Nick Hauck
Advisory Board and Editors (Fall issue)