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editor's notes

"All truths wait in all things" - Walt Whitman


April 30, 2023, the day I crossed the Fiume Tevere, the Tiber River, on foot.


I've been re-reading Dante, one canto every morning. Can someone please explain how he constructed this edifice? I'm not talking about the meaning, the influences, the history, the people. I can read the notes for that. No, I am asking about 14,233 lines of terza rima.

Here I thought writing a sestina was difficult.


We established the Charles Simic Poetry Prize to honor our late friend and mentor. I am pleased to announce that Dana Levin will select the winner of this year's prize.

Dana is the author of five books poetry. Her latest is Now Do You Know Where You Are (Copper Canyon Press), a 2022 New York Times Notable Book and NPR “Book We Love.” Other books include Banana Palace (2016) and Sky Burial (2011), which The New Yorker called “utterly her own and utterly riveting.” Recent poems and essays have appeared in Poem-a-day, Best American Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and Poetry, among other publications. She is a grateful recipient of many honors, including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN, and the Library of Congress, as well as from the Rona Jaffe, Whiting, and Guggenheim Foundations. With Adele Elise Williams, she co- edited Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master (2023) for the Unsung Masters Series.


Levin teaches for the Bennington Writing Seminars, the MFA program at Bennington College, and serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Maryville University in St. Louis.


Dana recently published a recollection of Charlie as friend, teacher, and mentor in The Yale Review. You can read it here: The Yale Review | Dana Levin: "Lessons of the Line"

For more information and to submit, go to our Submittable page: Hole In The Head Review Submission Manager (


I am grateful and excited to announce that Poet Richard Foerster will be the guest editor of our August issue.

He is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Boy on a Doorstep: New and Selected Poems (Tiger Bark Press, 2019), which received the 2020 Poetry by the Sea Book Award; and With Little Light and Sometimes None at All (Littoral Books, 2023). Among his numerous honors are the

“Discovery”/The Nation Award, Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize, a Maine

Arts Commission Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, and

two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships—as well as two Maine

Literary Awards for Poetry.

Since the late 1970s, his work has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, The Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, and Poetry. From 1978 to 2001, he served on the staff of the renowned New York-based literary magazine Chelsea, becoming its editor in 1994. In 2003 he helped found Chautauqua Literary Journal, which he edited until 2007. Richard has also worked as a lexicographer, educational writer and textbook editor, and freelance typesetter. He lives in Eliot, Maine.


We held our first open call for cover art for this issue and we were rewarded with beautiful work. We chose the work of Amanda Tinker because it expresses the sweet and delicate poses of nature in May. You can see more of Amanda's work as well as some of the other submissions we really liked on the inside.


Our readers in the last 365 days.


As with every issue, I give thanks to the hard-working crew down at Hole In The Headquarters: Bill Burtis, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, Jere DeWaters, Michael Hettich, Tom Bruton, and our newest associate editor, Mike Bove.

I have scoured every name, every punctuation mark, every line break in every poem....and still I know those pesky typos, misspells, and quirky formatting issues are lurking. Think of this as an old Persian rug, most beautiful because of its flaws. And when you find one please let me know and I'll try to mend it.

One last thing. While you CAN view Hole In The Head on your phone, it's really not designed for that. For the full experience, please view on a computer screen or, even better, on a tablet.

We'll be back on August 1. Stay safe, be optimistic, grateful, and don't stop working for the good of all.


Here's what I've been listening to. Thank you, Walt Whitman.

I am larger, better than I thought,

I did not know I held so much goodness.


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