From the Poetry Editor
Issue V’s gathering of poems comes by way of a long slow sifting, and I hope that you, dear Reader, will find that not only are individual pieces worthy of your heart’s welcome, but that the selection overall stirs in you something of Bracken’s unfolding spirit.
In our ever-more-constructed environment, it becomes perilously easy to forget the basic truth of our nature—that is, of our being nature, like the trees of the “snow-soaked field” in Jeff Hardin’s poem “A Few Words Left Behind,” or like the trees whose “shadows…are growing longer” in Margaret Holley’s “Dusk on the Lake of Dreams,” or like the “seals and elephants” of Jill Dery’s “Lanugo,” or like the “green pear” in Anita Boyle’s poem of the same name.
It is too easy for us to implicitly identify with our cars, our phones, and our laptops, and to expect ourselves and each other to respond instantly and automatically to the demands of our collectively-wrought schedules—to forget our dreams immediately upon waking, and to dismiss utterly the “shadows across a crop / of moss decades in the making” that Peter Munro brings before us in “Midnight After Winter-Long Rains.”
We don’t need every poem of our age to reflect natural objects back to us. Indeed, we need poems also to address the proliferating artifacts of our artifice every bit as much! But we will always call upon the arts, including poetry, to bring us back to our senses as natural creations ourselves! This sense of self as natural phenomenon is, I dare say, a kind of endangered species. It gets covered up with sleek synthetic fabrics and metallic dyes, and boxed in cubicle spaces lit with scintillating monitors, our bodily selves so disguised and funhouse-mirrored in so many reflective surfaces that we lose sight of our creaturely tenderness and complexity. Poetry can be a pathway back to our continuity with the living world. We are the ecology our hearts recognize when poems sing us our nature’s echo.
Selecting poems for Bracken has been for me a precious opportunity to participate in this clearing of a path, this making way between the jostled self and its own remembrance. I am endlessly grateful to all our contributors, to our Assistant Poetry Editor Erin Slomski-Pritz, and to our deeply inspired Founder and Editor Alina Rios, for permitting me such fulfilling participation.
I hope very much that you, good Reader, find an echo of your mysterious and vast nature in a poem here or there in this fresh issue of Bracken. Perhaps you will “step outside / in the last minutes before dusk” with T. Clear in her poem “Enough” and remember that you do indeed have all you will ever need.