Editor’s Page

Winter 2013

Dear Readers:

We have so much to tell you about this issue, it is hard to know where to begin. I hope you have already clicked on the link that will tell you what our IT guru has been up to for over a month: re-making the website for viewing on all platforms (computers, iPads, iPhones, Droids, etc.); now, no matter where you want to read Persimmon Tree, it will be clean, clear and crisp.

And here is what you will read: stories that are serious, festive or both; memories shared to make you smile or wince; and, well, a little bit of creepiness.

You will find a dozen poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet who is adept at “pulling gold from the ordinary,” richly introduced by our poetry editor, Wendy Barker.

The art comes from an unlikely collaborative effort and I think you will agree we have given you a delightful threesome. If you are in the mood for ethereal music or lively cha-cha-cha, go to Gena Raps’ interview with flautist Carol Winsenc to read, listen and tap your foot.

Gossip, some wicked, some heart breaking, is the subject of the current Short Takes contest. We are making a change to Short Takes. I like the form a lot and I also like an excuse to invite all our readers to return to an issue after their first reading. So, we are going to run two sets of Short Takes per issue. The first (in this case, “Gossip,”) appears as usual. The second (with a new topic, “Money”) will be put up mid-way through the cycle (we’ll  leave the first up as well). We hope doing this will inspire more readers to come back and look again at pieces they enjoyed or to finish reading the issue if they haven’t already done so. Let’s see how this works.

Winter may be cold or damp or grey (except where some of you live …), but winter can be filled with wonderful treats. I hope all these changes help make Persimmon Tree an important part of wonderful.

Sue Leonard

p.s. Kudos to Rochelle Distelheim, who wrote “Comfort Me with Apples” (Summer issue), who has just been awarded the Faulkner Society’s Gold Medal for her novel, Jerusalem As a Second Language. Here’s hoping she finds a publisher soon.


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. Once retired, Sue filled up her days with reading, needlework, family, friends and long walks.