what is possible—
. . . .
each house has wings
grown from our intentions
This issue of Persimmon Tree is a tribute to writers and visual and musical artists who have asked themselves what is possible, and—moved by the power of their talents and intentions—produced the prose, poetry, music, and art you will find in these pages. Rich with arresting nonfiction—including Sagan’s inspiring “January” and Janie Braverman’s harrowing “Apocalypse/How to Fold 1000 Cranes”—this issue also bristles with evocative fiction that imagines episodes in widely disparate settings, from ancient Crete and mid-nineteenth-century Majorca to a forbidding “isolation camp” in the modern United States.
Punk and poetry also resonate in these pages. Guest Music Editor Sharon M. Hannon interviews the multi-talented musician Exene Cervenka, and Poetry Editor Cynthia Hogue provides a moving tribute to poet Wendy Barker and the late poet’s inspiriting work. Art Editor Greta Berman’s description of the actions she and others took to rescue and restore stunning murals created under the Federal Art Project dovetails with the Persimmon Tree Forum discussion on the pros and cons of government funding for the arts. And we salute Mary-Lou Weisman as she completes her year as our magazine’s premier Guest Columnist.
Intentions, grit, and persistence are among the threads running through the Short Takes section on “Shameless Self-Promotion.” Each contributor focused on a possibility and acted to achieve it—dodging the slings and arrows of outrageous social conventions, denigrating assumptions, and/or the often daunting requirements of procedures and time on their way. Their testaments in prose and poetry provide ample evidence of the enduring importance of each individual’s actions and creativity even—perhaps especially—in this crowded and increasingly troubled world.
Contemplating all these elements—contributed by both practiced and emerging writers and artists—I am reminded of lines from another poem. Aptly titled “The Gleam of an Heroic Act,” it was written by the quietly persistent and determinedly creative Emily Dickinson well over a century ago:
By the Imagination
Enjoy this issue. Comment on the articles that most move you. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what you think.