Editor’s Page

Fall 2011

Dear Readers,

We’re really pleased to have Kay Ryan’s wonderful poems in this issue. It took a little doing: When we approached her a few years back, the timing wasn’t right—but we were determined and kept on trying. Now she has graciously agreed to let us publish her work, and she gave her permission to waive the fee (which is a necessity for us!)

Everything in the magazine has a story behind it.

You might be interested to know that we pick most of our fiction and nonfiction from the submissions pile. This is because we’re determined to publish work by a wide range of women over sixty, and the submissions pile is our best resource. We’re not like some other magazines and publications that tend to ignore the submissions they receive and solicit pieces from their friends. It might take us a long time to get back to authors who submit their work—we’re very sorry about that—but it’s not because we don’t take submissions seriously. It’s a matter of not enough staff and too much to do.

Our policy has been to publish each woman only once in the magazine. This is so we can make the honor available to a larger number. Once in a while I get an email suggesting we change this policy. The argument is that a stable of good writers, like theNew Yorker has, provides a certain consistency. It’s true that there is value in that—only that’s not what Persimmon Tree is about. Our mission has been, and continues to be, to bring the creativity and talent of as many women as we can to a readership of all ages.

We also want to provide our growing number of readers with a thought-provoking, high-quality magazine. Pieces are published here that you are not likely to see elsewhere—they confront the hard questions of life and death from the point of view of older women. Wisdom comes from experience, and it shows up in what we publish. We’re proud of that.

We hope that you share the word about Persimmon Tree with people you know. Consider inviting some of your friends together to talk about a particular story or essay that captivates you, or have everyone read the whole issue online before your gathering, or read the poems aloud to each other.

This summer issue, for example, has two pieces that have to do with brothers (“Mrs. Dalloway Isn’t Shallow” and “Finding Charles.”) I can imagine that a conversation about siblings would be fascinating. For many of us, our relationships with our sisters and brothers have shifted and changed through the years. Some issues have been resolved, and others haven’t—and that’s an interesting thing to discuss.

I send you wishes for a good summer,

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.