With this issue, Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices commits to an even greater outreach to authors of all backgrounds and nationalities during these turbulent times. Please help us by soliciting writer friends of high caliber to send pieces to Solstice in May. We will renew our call for culturally, socio-politically relevant pieces in the fall. (We do not accept submissions from June through August.)
Also, please give your special attention to our new provocative Spring Issue. Check our Fiction Editor’s Note by Lee Hope, Poetry Editors’ Note by Ben Berman and Dzvinia Orlowsky, and Nonfiction Editor’s Note by Richard Hoffman for more detailed info.
And please be on the lookout for our Summer Awards Issue in early August, when we will have a new edgy Web design. In the Summer Issue, we publish our Annual Contest winners and finalists, along with featured writers, and we will highlight the eminent photographer Richard Ross, who has an extraordinary series of photos/videos/audio on juveniles in detention.
We believe that literature and art can promote values of inclusion within diversity.
In that vein, we are thrilled to announce our Pushcart Prize finalist for 2016, Lynne Thompson, for her poem “Politics.”
Also, please submit culturally relevant pieces to our blog. Onwards, Lee Hope
Fiction Editor’s Note
In our Spring 2017 issue, we show our range in fiction, from edgy, experimental, premise pieces, such as Tracy Robert’s amazing tale of a prophetic telemarketer to Elizabeth Terzakis’ futurist piece of the psychological power of virtual reality, to Nance Van Winckel’s illustrated prose poetry. In addition, we continue with to publish challenging, sometimes ironic realism, such as William Auten’s story of adoption told through photographs; Sean Conway’s terrific coming-of-age story set in an amusement park at Salisbury Beach; Karan Madhok’s amusing, deep, elegant story set in India; Marie Manilla’s lyrical depiction of a young girl up against sex and drugs; and Lesley O’Connell’s sensual elegy of parents’ death and desertion and the grown children’s emotional distress.
This issue is packed full of fine fiction, which I hope you will not just read, but devour. Kudos to the authors! And please note my interview with Marleen Roggow, an agent for poets and short story writers! Also, please respond to these authors’ pieces, if you wish, on our Facebook page or in a blog piece.
We’d love to initiate a dialogue about literature and our culture now, when we need such explorations more than ever. Lee Hope
Nonfiction Editor’s Note
The nonfiction in this issue of Solstice offers an array of essays from various places on the globe, each taking a bit different angle on the ways we affect and influence one another.
It was in Homer, Alaska, last June, at a reading that was part of the Kachemak Bay Writers Conference, when I heard Lee Goodman read his essay, “A Friendship of Thirty Years,” and I was deeply moved by its appreciation of the tragic estrangement at its heart. And so I asked him for it, a little worried because sometimes I have been enthusiastic about work I first heard in the author’s voice, only to find that it didn’t hold up on the page. Reading Goodman’s essay, however, I was moved all over again, and moved to admiration for the writing as well. Steve Huff’s memories of the novelist John Gardner, a man he never met, detail the intricate and crooked paths by which writers influence one another, one instance, perhaps, of the secret and surprising ways we are all connected. Yasmin Azad’s remembrance serves to remind us that children live on the faultline between nature and culture, and often suffer under the restrictions of the latter. Taline Voskeritchian limns, in exquisite prose, the “tangled and far-reaching” story of her displaced Armenian family, and in doing so acknowledges not only the disruptive power of political violence, but the resilience of those who suffered, grieved, and survived.
Reading these four essays together, you may find, as I did, that they respond to one another in interesting ways, not quite a quartet perhaps, but a conversation.
Poetry Editor’s Notes
Save/for dreaming, writes Marcia Brown, we know how to shut things out, and that sentiment is echoed in the haunting final image of Iain Hailey Pollock’s poem, California Penal Code 484 & 488, of a bike with a new lock, with double loop of new chain.
When we speak about valuing diversity, here at Solstice, what we’re really talking about is staying open to as many voices and experiences as possible. It would not be easy imagining all/ these lives intersecting, writes D.G. Geis in his poem Counting Crows, and yet that seems to be the very purpose of our journal – to encourage such intersections.
Sometimes it comes from conversation between poems rooted in various places – we have poems, here, from Ashland, Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee; Ukraine to the Great Rift Valley. And we have poems that explore the experience of being uprooted. We are the house and the tree,/ in somebody else’s story writes Ewa Chrusciel in her poem, Migrant’s Dream Under Water.
Sometimes the intersection is between content and form. Allison Rollins’ Elegy for a Broken Part might very well focus on brokenness, but its form offers us a sense of balance as her couplets repeat themselves in reverse order. Dorothy McKibben might be the gatekeeper in John Canaday’s powerful poem, but she speaks in terza rima – a form of intertwined rhymes.
And sometimes the crossroads involve the past and the present. In the translations by Sola Bjarnadóttir-O’Connell from the Icelandic, Gerður Kristný’s quiet but vivid imagery almost recall paintings in a museum and Ingunn Snaedal’s sometimes sparse words almost appear to be anchored in the modern world of tweets and text messages.
These intersecting poems in our Spring Issue encourage us to stay open, ask us to shift from feeling closed to feeling close, remind us that Silence speaks, as Lee Sharkey writes, where a tongue may not.
Ben Berman and Dzvinia Orlowsky