I, who came back from the depths laughing too loudly,
Become another thing;
My eyes extend beyond the farthest bloom of the waves;
I lose and find myself in the long water;
I am gathered together once more;
I embrace the world.
~ Theodore Roethke, from The Long Waters
We read a lot of poems as we put together each issue of Hole In The Head. Five of us, Bill Burtis, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, Mike Bove and I read an average of 400 to 500 poems for each issue. I'll be honest, sometimes I don't much like reading poetry outside of the selection process for the magazine. I know, I know...
So when my friend, the poet Steve Langan suggested I read the long poems of Roethke, I thought...really? I read the Collected Poems over and over when I was in grad school nearly 50 years ago. Surely I took every thing I could take from them all those years ago. I put Roethke in the been there, read that file with so many others who had once meant so much to me.
But I didn't want to lie when someday (soon) he asks me what I thought. So I picked up the Collected Poems, which cost me $3.95 way back then and began reading.
Once again I was reminded that great works of literature and art continue to give through the years. And it's different depending on my life's situation. I'm 71 now and a thoroughly different person than the grad student who put down $3.95 for the book. Roethke and others speak to me in poems that speak in a different voice today, no better nor worse. What I need today.
I'm so grateful for the reminder. You might want to dust off some of those books you believe you've already squeezed everything worthy from them years before.
This issue marks the start of our 5th year in existence. I really never thought we'd get here, never thought we'd find readers, poets and artists to sustain us. And here we are, Ground Hog Day again. Here are the previous Ground Hog Day covers:
Paul Brahms, v1n1
Eva Goetz, v2n1
Ed Valfre (go to the issue to experience the full video) v3n1
Jo Richardson, v4n1
Cover art this issue provided by Mary Curran.
My friend and fine prose poet, editor, and teacher, Peter Johnson has made his book, Observations from the Edge of the Abyss, available online at no charge. What? It's true and it's good!
Peter is a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan so be gentle.
This map shows the location of our readers in the past year.
As always, thank you to the entire staff here at Hole In The Headquarters: Tom Bruton, Bill Burtis, Jere DeWaters, Michael Hettich, Nancy Jean Hill, Marilyn A. Johnson, and our new associate editor, Mike Bove.
I've planted a few "errors" throughout the issue. Please let me know if you come across any.
If you like what you see, hit that big donate button on the cover. Whatever you donate is greatly appreciated.
Here's what I've been listening to.
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
We'll be back on May Day. Stay safe, be optimistic, grateful, and don't stop working for the good.