photo: John Cameron
This issue marks four years of Hole In The Head Review. And I'm stunned. I spent a little time flipping through Our Back Pages and I just can't get over what we've accomplished. Each issue is alive and vibrant with poetry, painting, videos, photography, interviews and reviews.
We've published some recognized names and we've published many people just starting out. And in these digital pages, we draw no distinction. The work is the work is the work. That's the way we like it and that's the way we'll continue to operate.
This is normally the fun part of putting this ramshackle journal together. All pages look great, spelling checked. Sure, I know I'll get an email or two in the coming days pointing out something I've missed, spacing is off on line 19 or I've written "the brage slides downriver" instead of "barge glides upriver."
I expect that and I apologize up front to those whose work I've messed up and I pledge to correct promptly.
But this has been a strange few days in my little corner of Maine, 23.7 miles from downtown Lewiston. Many years ago I worked in Lewiston as a reporter for The Lewiston Daily Sun, the morning paper. I covered city hall and checked in with the police department, the sherriff's office, and the fire department. I sat through city council, school board, planning board, and a zillion other board meetings. And I wrote features on the people of Lewiston and its neighboring city, Auburn. I think I came to know the people there.
It was and is a tough town in a film noir sense. At that time in the late 70s, the city had a city manager who was as close to a "boss" as you could get around here. The mills that had produced fine blankets and fabrics were long closed and empty. But the "social clubs" that popped up around the mills were and are still busy with the regulars.
I once looked at a Google Earth shot of downtown and could see the roofs of three Catholic churches, including the beautiful basilica in the heart of downtown...so close to one another they could have shared a parking lot...and that didn't take into account the two parishes in the nearby outskirts.
Lewiston is that kind of town. And Maine is the kind of place where tragic events ripple outward and affect us all.
So I'm sorry if this isn't the normal editor's note. But right now, nothing really is normal around here.
I DO want you to see where our readers are located this year. You'll note that we still haven't cracked the Iceland and Mongolia markets. We'll keep trying and if you know of poets and/or artists from there or from anywhere else in the world, please let them know they're welcome here.
And blessings to our friends in Israel and Gaza Strip; Ukraine and Russia; Berkeley and Birmingham. سَلَامٌ, shalom, peace, мир, 和平سَ, pace, paix and all good things.
Thank you all for four years of poetry and art and joy.
And thanks to the entire hard-working staff down at Hole In The Headquarters - Bill Burtis, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, Jere DeWaters, Michael Hettich, and Tom Bruton.
We’ll be back with this hole thing again to start our fifth year on Groundhog Day 2024.
Cover Photo: Ed Valfre
What I'm listening to (and you should, too), Eric Whitacre, Voces8 performing All Seems Beautiful to Me, from Walt Whitman's Song of The Open Road: