When our webmistress, Laura Laytham Zaki, told us the summer issue would be Persimmon Tree’s fiftieth, we wanted to celebrate. But, how? Marcia Freedman, who was part of the team from the outset, solved it perfectly: we should re-run the first issue along with the new one. That is exactly what we have done.
This has been a complicated process, filled with technological challenges, sentiment and sadness, triumphs and the pleasure of presenting so much good work.
First (and hard to miss): a brand new format. I loved the way Persimmon Tree looked from its inception, but we have been importuned to update for reading on phones and tablets. As someone who has a hard time with change (I never rearrange my furniture, for instance), I concede it is worth gaining better visibility on all formats.
Issue 50 is chockablock with amazing writing. Through the poetry contest Heather H. Thomas has uncovered a richness of talent from poets living outside the U.S. You’ll find art from 92-year-old Jenny Tango: what an eye, what a sense of humor, what a body. And, of course, stories full of wisdom and surprises. It has been a joy to put this issue together.
Finally: our first ever issue. Persimmon Tree came out in the Spring of 2007. I remember being impressed with the amazing stories it contained and signed up immediately. Reading it now still takes my breath away, but it also tugs at my heart. Many of the pieces are by or about friends who have died – like Esther Broner who was one of my closest friends and who persuaded me to take over the magazine when Nan Gefen was ready to move on. Luckily, all the issues are still available through the archive.