From the Editor

All Will Be Well, acrylic by Phyllis Green

“. . . to astonish a mean world”

Dear Readers,


I was inspired recently, re-reading the poem “Continue” by activist poet and memoirist Maya Angelou. “My wish for you/ Is that you continue,” Angelou writes—and follows that potent wish with a list of ways to contribute to the betterment of our volatile world.

I am equally inspired every day by the prose, poetry, art, and music that flow daily into Persimmon Tree, creations by older women who continue to address, reflect, and influence our lives—sometimes in ways new to them. The works of “aspiring” as well as practiced writers and artists fill every one of our issues with material reflecting the authors’ experiences, hopes, and aspirations. The varied viewpoints of those we publish (and those who for many reasons we are unable to accept) “ignore no vision,” as Angelou writes, “Which comes to enlarge your range/ And increase your spirit.”

This issue of Persimmon Tree is filled with works that will enlarge the range and spirit of all our readers. The seven stories in our Fiction section move from the pounding rhythms of Rosalind Goldsmith’s “SMH” to the brief whimsy of Lynn Gazis’s “Leaving the Party.” The lineup of seven Nonfiction essays begins with Mary Zelinka’s harrowing and inspiring “Thirty-four Years to Graduation” and ends with “Socks for Lola,” Nancy Glass’s moving tribute to the art and craft of maintaining and respecting a valued friendship.

Art Editor Greta Berman introduces readers to the influential work of “Advocate for the Arts: Johanna Bryant Reid,” who collects and promote the work of Black artists. “The gift that bright exults” is Poetry Editor Cynthia Hogue’s tribute to the work of Alice Fulton, who, Hogue notes, is “one of the most original, complex, and consequential poets of her generation (as well as an advocate for animal rights).

Those who believe that erotica is the province of the young will be delectably disabused by perusing this issue’s Short Takes, filled with sensual prose and poetry—enhanced by Publisher Jean Zorn’s introduction, the complementary art of Merry Song, and vivid piano performances by Music Editor Gena Raps.

Last, but definitely not least, the Persimmon Tree Forum presents our readers’ hopes and fears regarding the future of the United States in this pivotal election year—a discussion to which we hope readers will contribute by using the Comment section at the end of the Forum page. Many of these heartfelt letters—as so many of the other works in this issue—bring to mind, and reflect, another of the wishes Angelou includes in her poem: that we continue “To astonish a mean world/ With . . . acts of kindness.”

In what will undoubtedly be a challenging year, let us keep that wish in mind.

Peggy Wagner



Phyllis Green is an author, playwright,  and artist.  At present, she reviews nonfiction books. Her art can be found in ArLiJo 123, Gulf Stream magazine, Rip Rap, Rathalla, Talking River, Cinematic Codes Review, Superpresent, I 70 Review, and other journals.

Margo Berdeshevsky (Spring 2024 cover art) is an author and visual artist. Her books include: Kneel Said The Night (hybrid book in half-notes) (Sundress Publications), Before The Drought (Glass Lyre Press/ National Poetry Series finalist), It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat (Salmon Poetry), Between Soul & Stone, But a Passage in Wilderness (Sheep Meadow Press), and Beautiful Soon Enough (FC2), winner Grand Prize/Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred.


  1. I am thrilled to see you have all, once again, outdone yourselves and produced another Spring issue full of delectable offerings. Thank you, thank you and thank you. Marion

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