Editor’s Page

Winter 2009

Dear Readers:

We’re very pleased to welcome Sandy Boucher on staff as Persimmon Tree’s associate editor. Sandy, a writer and teacher, will focus on reaching out to new authors.

There’s a special treat for you in this issue: a fascinating conversation about aging and the writing life with authors E.M. Broner and Mary Gordon. I think you’ll agree that this piece brings up thoughts and feelings that you won’t see discussed other places. Gather your friends and associates together to talk about it. You’ll find the piece promotes honesty—younger people will be intrigued and older people will say, “Oh, yes!”

We editors often ask ourselves how much Persimmon Tree material should be about the hard part of aging. The subject matter of most of the unsolicited submissions we receive is about death and dying, loss and grief, aging bodies and the search for meaning. This is what is on our authors’ minds, and it comes out in their work. When we started the magazine, we feared that we’d turn off readers if we included too much of this difficult material.

But we were mistaken. Readers of all ages yearn for well-crafted writing that touches on the ultimate questions of human existence. At a recent Persimmon Tree reading, most of the audience was under forty—but these people were completely engrossed in the story of a father’s death, narrated by an older woman who was struggling to put herself back together again. They could relate to this through their own lives.

The writers and artists who appear in Persimmon Tree have first-hand knowledge about the experience of aging. They’re aware of the subtleties and contradictions; they know the satisfaction and sadness that comes with the passing years. Their vision has been sharpened, their understanding refined. Using their skill, talent, and creativity, they pass this knowledge on through their writing, poetry, and art. This is the contribution they make.

We’re pleased that Persimmon Tree is able to showcase their work. But we do need our readers’ help in supporting this magazine. Many of you have generously given during our year-end fundraising drive, and we thank you so very much (see your names on the “Donations” page.) Since Persimmon Tree is free, we really depend on your support.

If you haven’t done it yet, please consider making a donation. It’s easy—just click the “Donate” button on our home page or the link that is in the right column.

We send you best wishes for a good holiday season. May the new year be one of peace, justice, and generosity throughout the world.

Nan Gefen
Senior Editor


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.