Editor’s Page

Spring 2016

Dear Readers,
For Women’s History Month, I found this quotation from Adrienne Rich:
We need to imagine a world in which every woman is the presiding genius of her own body. In such a world women will truly create new life, bringing forth not only children if and as we choose but the visions, and the thinking, necessary to sustain, console and alter human existence-a new relationship to the universe. Sexuality, politics, intelligence, power, motherhood, work, community, intimacy will develop new meanings; thinking itself will be transformed. This is where we have to begin.
As Rich suggests, Persimmon Tree brings you fiction, nonfiction, memories, art, music and politics. This issue, in particular, gives you birth and rebirth through stories real and imagined, Short Takes, even a poem. That has been our mission since the very beginning.
Our superb poetry editor, Wendy Barker, has written an inspired introduction to the work of a fine poet, whom she chose and persuaded to let us feature. I begin the Spring issue with Patricia Smith to make sure no one misses this treat.
“Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,” sang the Beatles, and for this issue, help has been crucial. Help choosing the art, editing and proofing pieces, and sending pieces to their authors for comments were all necessary as my aging eyes had been giving me trouble for months. Happily I am on the mend, but I want to give credit to Gena Raps, Elizabeth Zimmer, Linda Boldt, Jean Zorn, and Kitty Cunningham, to whom I turn all the time.
Here is another example of help from our friends: Three years ago, one of our readers sent in the persimmon image you see on the Home Page with the following message:
Six Persimmons is a 13th century Chinese painting by the monk, Mu Qi. [The painting] exemplifies the progression from youth to age as a symbol of the progression from bitterness to sweetness. The persimmon when young is bitter and inedible, but as it ages it becomes sweet and beneficial to humankind. Thus, as we age, we overcome rigidity and prejudice and attain compassion and sweetness.
We take turns choosing a persimmon image for each issue and, since seven of us are selectors, I have been waiting a long time for my chance to use this one and (sorry, sorry) have lost track of who sent it, but, at last, thank you.
Happy Women’s History Every Month,
Sue Leonard



For 45 years, Sue Leonard taught every variety of history except American mostly at independent high schools for girls — with a brief stint in a poverty program school for pregnant teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. In the mid-nineties she and her late husband John Leonard were co-editors of the Books and Arts section of the Nation Magazine. Since retiring, Sue has filled up her days with reading, needlework, family, friends and long walks.