Editor’s Note

Most days, I am an editor of wood. I swing wide the bay door of my shop and scan the stacks of lumber in the gray light. I lay my hands on the previous day’s work and think over the projects underway. Each day calls for some sort of revision, small or extensive. I must imagine and reimagine what is possible.

Though I carry many poems with me throughout the days, and read often, it was a wonderful experience to curate this small collection of incredible work by such talented poets, writers, and photographers. I spend the majority of my time working alone, but for the period I spent reading for this issue, I felt the shop was full of friends—though our mediums varied, our goal was common: to make a shape in which the heart can live.

In his expansive and imaginative essay published in this issue, Dan Beachy-Quick writes:

A poem begins by making a shape. It draws a circumference. All that is in it is the poem. What is outside of it is not. There is a silence on the inside and a silence on the outside but they are different silences. It’s hard to hear the difference.

At the bandsaw, I passed a board through the blade and thought about this difference. I went at the rough work with the sander and made it smooth. I took measurements and set up the frames. Though it was just the outline, I could see the shape of what it would become.

To me, these intersections make life impossibly rich. Inside my woodwork now lives a thought made by a man I’ve never met—this was the gift of this opportunity and assignment, given to me by Editor, Ben Evans. Now, inside my world, new worlds. May it also be so for you.

Matthew Nienow,
Guest Editor