When we chose Celebration as our theme for Vol. 22, we assumed that we would gets lots of submissions that were celebratory, high on life, verbal jumps for joy, even if tinged with what we called “an elegiac time for contemplation.” Surprisingly, we got a hell of a lot of death-funeral-dying, down in the dumps, submissions (at least in the poetry category). Maybe it is the times we live in. With the current U.S. political climate, there isn’t too much to celebrate.
We did celebrate the fact that Raven’s staff finally joined the digital world: instead of receiving submissions for this issue through the U.S. mail, we used Submittable.com. For me, it was Hallelujah! time. So much less work. So much more organized. We have always wanted to make sure we never charged anyone for submitting work to Raven, and that hasn’t changed by using Submittable. It just makes everything more efficient and less labor intensive, and more timely for both writers and staff.
We did end up publishing more prose work than usual. Matt Briggs and Dana Dickerson picked twelve examples of work celebrating such diverse events as Obama’s first election, lesbian high school students attending a prom after a successful protest, the building of a hummingbird’s nest in reaction to a jazz rehearsal, breaking through barriers to becoming an artist, the man in the bunny suit attending a birthday party, and warrior ants who eat other ants and then die of malnutrition, thus saving the sugarcane crops in the process.
And thanks to John Olson, and his very funny essay, “Sillybrations,” we get to be thankful for, or not, celebrating Fill Our Stapler Day, Face Your Fears Day, Zero Tasking Day, and, if there is one, Endless List Day. Make your own list.
So many good poets sent in work, Poetry Editor Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor picked twenty-two poems that celebrate diverse events, places, and persons: a son, Einstein’s gravitational waves, a traditional Apache basket weaver, the making of tea, giving cats fresh water every morning, and the fact that on Jane’s table everything is “for sale except the hand-blown / shot glass with her mother’s / thumbprint pressed in a thin / petalled nasturtium” (Kevin Miller, pg. 63).
We are pleased to present a poem by Billie Swift (“I Question the Door Open,” pg. 62), the new owner-operator of Open Books: A Poem Emporium. Poets Christine Deavel and John W. Marshall are finally retiring and turning over the reins to Billie. They’ve served the poetry community since 1995; Open Books is one of only a handful poetry-only bookstores in the universe.
If you love the work in this magazine, and the work Raven has done since 1991: please go on our website, www.ravenchronicles.org, and donate, or buy a subscription, or buy an copy for a loved one. We appreciate all the support we get.
Announcement: the Vol. 23, Fall/Winter issue of Raven will not have an open reading/submission period. Vol. 23 will be a special issue, dedicated to twenty years of work of Jack Straw’s Writers Program. Late in 2016, we will post guidelines and themes for Vol. 24, Spring/Summer 2017 issue.
Later. . .
Raven Managing Editor