It seems fitting that, as we enter our fortieth volume year (we are really fifty-seven, having been launched in 1956, but who’s counting?), the stories and essays featured in this issue are all situated in youth. For the narrator of Thomas Cain’s “Stop,” an abandoned house serves as the locus of adolescent uncertainty, romantic experimentation, testing of friendship, and loss of innocence. In Laura Schadler’s “Reward for Bravery,” a young woman recalls the sultry California summer that will forever twine together her sexual awakening and the tragic bravado of the young surfers whose attention she desired. Amid the waning days of the Vietnam War and the televised Watergate hearings, a girl experiences the pain of shifting alliances between the sexes in Marta Rose’s “Trespasses.” In her essay “Resort Home,” Amy Bernhard writes about her mother’s attempt, post-divorce, to create the life she’d imagined for herself as a young woman. Yelizaveta Renfro’s “Navel Country” is a memoir of both her California childhood—alternately idyllic and troubled—and the state’s citrus industry, of which her larger-than-life grandfather was a pioneer. And in “Blank Slate,” Silas Hansen examines his difficult relationship with the name his parents chose for him when he was born.
Welcome to the spring issue—dive in and become young again.
—sg [End Page 1]
The winds of change have blown us only nakedness this time, and no rebirth. In October’s hurricane, I watched the garden of my first and secret love, Little Ferry, New Jersey, wash away to sea; thousands lost the fondest playgrounds of their summer lives. Entire lives, actual and irreplaceable, were lost. In November’s election, all of us watched as the wealth of the nation galed in rancour and haphazard. In the end, all the incompetent, familiar protagonists remained in place. I thought of Priam and Achilles reconciled over the torn remains of Hector. What use was reconciliation to the peace and to the people of Troy? Oh well . . . Ever-returning spring! We have offended the planet and bankrupted ourselves, yet nevertheless: Ever-returning spring. Our poetry does well to entrust it to the piety of creatures. Take courage and heart from Laurie Blauner’s patient kangaroos, from Annie Jacobs’s dog Michelle, and, most of all, from Gerald Stern’s Ovidian, broke-backed mule, the eventual ephebe of our stubborn endurance. Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring!
—donald revell [End Page 2]