Serotonin is a strange currency—like biochemical Skittles wrought from the greyness of tryptophan into gleaming discs of precious candied metal, chemical symbol: JY. One can be judicious in spending this JY, perhaps by permitting themselves a long-awaited piece of turtle cheesecake after bearing the grilled Pacific salmon as an entree, again (discipline, Jerry, discipline). Conversely, one can slit a hole in their sack of long-accrued—6 weeks of weightlifting, cardio, and utter culinary denial—potential happiness and spill it across a Michigan island like a mead-drunk Hansel unconcerned with return. Never one for thrift when beauty and jubilation are at stake, I of course opted for the latter. And though I now feel like Rush Limbaugh should after each radio segment had he an ounce of decency, I'm confident that my serotonin was not expended in vain over these last two weeks. On August 14th, eight musicians and one gifted filmmaker, made passage to my cottage on Marquette Island on Lake Huron in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Over the next five days, these musicians were filmed playing in sun-soaked glades, cedar forests, on boats yawning through diamonded water, and on docks at moonrise. I read a poem here and there. We taped conversations about art and mortality, landscape and life. It was one of the most sublime and enriching experiences I have ever been a part of. It was beautiful and it was true, and I can't wait to share both the documentary and the four Fogged Clarity sessions we recorded with our readers and the world in the months to come. But that was only week one—on the day shooting concluded I was promptly joined on the island by four of my dearest writing (drinking) friends who came in from all over the continent. The week that ensued warrants little disquisition, and it will suffice to say that after I dropped my last friend off in Windsor yesterday morning I fell asleep in the customs line to re-enter this fine country. I was roused sharply by three armed policemen to discover I was plumb out of Skittles and wanted only to go home...to recharge.
Every poem in this issue is supplemented by an audio recording of the respective poet reading their work. In the cases of Dan Beachy-Quick, Campbell McGrath and Matthew Cooperman, I found that the historical and imaginative scope of the poem sets each contributed to this edition of Fogged Clarity merited further investigation, and thus invited them separately on the air to discuss the inspirations and obsessions behind their work here included. In addition to enjoying what is, in my estimation, one of the most thorough and important issues of poetry we've ever published, you can watch Lewis & Clarke's Lou Rogai cover Lee Clayton's "Silver Stallion" in an abandoned Pennsylvanian chapel; read about why Dick Cheney won't finally die in Morgan Hughes' non-fiction piece "God Hates Ventriloquists"; or consider the potentially violent resentments of an aging grandmother in Joan Hill's "When You Say It Straight Out Like That." We hope you enjoy.
One final note: my co-editor and our brilliant web-designer Ryan Daly has redesigned the entire Fogged Clarity website. This reimagined site will be unveiled with our Winter 2014 edition on December 1st.
Benjamin Blake Evans
Executive Editor, Fogged Clarity