Editor’s Page

Spring 2010

Dear Readers:

We’re in a groove.

After two years of start-up, Persimmon Tree is now entering its third year of publishing. Our systems are in place, and no more do we scurry around at the last minute, confounded by details that escaped our attention. Of course there are always surprises… but fewer than before.

We’re proud that we’ve made it to our third birthday. We hope that you share this pride—because the magazine would not exist without all of you. As readers, contributors, and funders, you’ve generously supported us, and we’re very grateful.

The contributing editors and I work very hard to bring you a magazine of quality, interest, and beauty. But other women, too, share this effort. Like Andrea Hollander Budy, who was our guest poetry editor for this issue. It’s no small challenge to carefully read 270 poems and decide which ones to publish. She—like the other guest poetry editors in the past—did this with great skill and graciousness.

Our next poetry contest, with Wendy Barker as the guest judge, is for women who live outside the U.S. The winning poems will appear in the Fall 2010 issue. You can find the details on our Submissions page, but please help us out by alerting international poets you know about the contest. We very much want to get a strong showing and increase our diversity of voices.

In case you’re wondering, Persimmon Tree poetry contests will continue in the future, with winning poems published in the spring and fall issues. To find out more about them, make sure you receive our emails and keep reading the Submissions page.

We were very sorry to hear in February of the death of poet Lucille Clifton at the age of 73. Her profundity, earthiness, and humor were amply evident in her eleven books of poetry. A winner of the National Book Award in 2000 and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, she was much loved by many of us. Persimmon Tree had the pleasure of featuring twelve of her wonderful poems in 2008—click onto the Archive and find them under “Poetry.” While you’re there, make sure to read Toi Derricotte’s excellent introduction to Lucille’s poetry.

Sending you wishes for a good spring,

Nan Gefen


Nan Fink Gefen was the founding publisher of Tikkun magazine in 1985 and the founding editor of Persimmon Tree magazine in 2007. She is the author of Stranger in the Midst (Basic Books, 1997) and Discovering Jewish Meditation (Jewish Lights, 2nd edition 2011), and her fiction and nonfiction pieces have appeared in literary journals and magazines. She currently is working on a novel, Woman on a Wire.