How can a thing that is, essentially, nothing—a space where something else should be—have such pull?” asks Emily Sinclair in “Searching for the Duck Hole,” featured in this issue’s nonfiction. It’s a question that resonates throughout the stories and essays in these pages—characters and writers alike bump along and against the walls of estrangement, investigating the spaces created by silence, absence, and longing. In Michael Byers’s “City Light,” set in 1950s-era Seattle, a girl forges her lonely way into young adulthood largely without her family’s support. In Karin Lin-Greenberg’s “Touring,” the paths of a friendless college student still grieving her mother’s death and a washed-up, nearly unrecognizable former pop star intersect on a campus tour, both struggling to navigate the terrain of loss. A teenager in Nancy K. Mays’s “The Chevrolet Girl” takes a calculated risk to repair the rupture created by her mother’s leaving the family. The growing distance between Chicago medical student Yael’s parents, visiting from Venezuela, threatens the bond between her and her father in Jennifer Stern’s “Lights.” Michele Finn Johnson writes, in “Silent Impacts,” about mitigating enviromental contamination affecting two long-feuding towns while beginning the dissolution of her silence-plagued marriage. Emily Sinclair’s “Searching for the Duck Hole,” by turns tender and wry,  examines the push and pull of her decades-long estrangement from her mother. And potentially offering some balm for losses, ruptures, and injuries is “Taxi Sutra,” in which Jennifer Sinor considers, through the lens of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the unanticipated gift that sometimes comes, though perhaps not immediately, from a moment of crisis.

Welcome to the spring issue. Find a space in the silence, listen for the resonance, and await the gift.

—Stephanie G’Schwind


There are better meanings of the word election, meanings that both antedate and supervene the American guignol of this past autumn. Life elects to live. A small, blue planet is elected, out of unimaginable numerousness, to shelter you and me. As Amanda Auerbach here avers, “The tree is more than possible.” Exactly so. The “more than possible” is poetry’s politics. And so it is time now to elect vivacity, the effortless resistance to tyrants and to charlatans. Our poet Pam Rehm, wisely and most practically, makes bold to say, “Love has a future tense.”

—Donald Revell

Featured in This Issue

Amanda Auerbach, Monica Berlin, Don Bogen, Bruce Bond, Michael Byers, Hélène Cardona, Jeanette Clough, Peter Covino, Kathryn Cowles, Mark Cox, Kevin Goodan, Eryn D Green, Zoë Hitzig, Michele Finn Johnson, Karin Lin-Greenberg, Charlotte Lieberman, James Longenbach, Maja Lukic, Rick Lyon, Angelo Mao, Nancy K. Mays, Joshua McKinney, E. G. Means, Zackary Medlin, Kate Monaghan, Bibhu Padhi, Eric Pankey, Amanda Peery, Derek Pollard, Ben Ramke, Pamala Rehm, Jack Ridl, Elizabeth Savage, Alix Anne Shaw, Emily Sinclair, Jennifer Sinor, Jennifer Stern, Adam Strauss, Cole Swensen, Susan Terris, Amy Jo Trier-Walker, Jim Whiteside

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