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  • Editorial
  • Christopher W. Lemelin (bio)

The work of an editor is often like that of a quilter-pulling together patches of fabric, combining them, reordering them, and assembling them into a single unit. The editor's ideal goal is to produce something more than a collection of random patches. Sometimes this happens by the editor's deliberate hand; sometimes it happens serendipitously. And as I think back on the final stages of assembling this issue of Sirena, I am struck by the role that serendipity has played in the process.

I recently learned that the word "serendipity" has no lengthy etymology, but rather was coined in the eighteenth century by Horace Walpole, who derived it from a book of Persian tales titled The Three Princes of Serendip, the heroes of which make many accidental discoveries on their journeys. Certainly, producing this issue of Sirena could be likened to a journey for me, and it has come together in ways that I never expected when I began to work on it in September. As John Barth wrote, in The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, "you don't reach Serendib by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings ... serendipitously."

Having set out in good faith toward other goals, I came upon the "fortunate chance" of offering in this issue reproductions of paintings of Haitian poet and artist Frankétienne, as well as an essay on his work by Jean Jonassaint. That Jonassaint's essay speaks of Frankétienne 's "quest for a typo/topo/poetic," a way to combine the poetic and the graphic, obviously resonates with what Sirena strives to present to its readers in each issue. As I continued to think about this serendipitous connection, I realized that there are (at least) several in this issue. Following the gesture of Frankétienne, this issue includes poems that have art as their motivation, such as Gisela Hemau's "Malevich" and David Monteira's "Kandinsky." Additionally, the compact forms in Antonio Ganomeda's "Georgics" resonate interestingly with István Vöros's "Eternal Calendar," and, not surprisingly, thematic and metaphoric connections appear, fade, and resurface throughout the poems in these pages.

Nevertheless, putting together this issue of Sirena required the genuine work of many hands. No matter how serendipitous the arrival, the journey is always a matter of labor, and I am grateful to all who have offered their time and care in the production of this issue. Now that it is assembled, I hope that its readers will find in it more than a patchwork of poetry and art, but a work of "accidental discoveries." [End Page 4]

La tarea de un editor es como la de un fabricante de colchas-uno tiene que juntar trozos de tela, combinarlos y organizarlos para construir una unidad coherente. La meta ideal del editor es producir algo más que una colección azarosa de parches. De vez en cuando esto ocurre a causa de la mano intencional del editor, y otras veces como producto de la casualidad. Al pensar en las etapas finales de la compaginación de este número de Sirena me sorprende el papel que ha tenido la serendipidad.

Acabo de aprender que la palabra inglesa seredipity no tiene una larga etimología, sino que fue inventada en el siglo XVIII por Horace Walpole, quien la derivó de un libro de cuentos persas titulado The Three Princes of Serendip. Durante sus viajes, los héroes de esa historia accidentalmente realizaron varios descubrimientos. Sin duda, se podría caracterizar la producción de este número de Sirena como un viaje que ha acabado de manera muy diferente a la imaginada en septiembre cuando la comencé. Como escribió John Barth en The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, "no alcanzas Serendib mediante una carta de mareo, sino que hace falta empezar un viaje hacia otro lugar con buena voluntad y perderse en la casualidad."

Aunque comencé con buena voluntad este proyecto con otras metas, me vi frente a la "afortunada oportunidad" de ofrecer en este número reproducciones de pinturas del poeta y artista haitiano Frankétienne, como...


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Archived 2013
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