It’s quite early in the new year as we prepare this spring issue, and resolutions still abound: the yoga studio is suddenly mat to mat, Facebook posts are rife with challenges and promises of change, and many of us are taking this time to consider who we are, who we hope to be, how we want to live. Fittingly, the stories and essays in this issue each touch on matters of identity. In Amanda Ajamfar’s “Little Sister,” a woman tries to make sense of her younger sister’s act-of-activism suicide, questioning whether she ever really knew her sibling. A Polish refugee who survived the Nazis by engaging in the resistance, now resettled in New York, deals with her many losses while trying to fit into her new community in Pam Goldman’s “Partisan.” Alternating between reflections on the isolation she experienced in a mental health facility and the remote existence she now shares with a man battling his own demons, a woman attempts to find her place in the world in Genevieve Plunkett’s “The Volunteer.” And in Ashley Wurzbacher’s “Ripped,” a twin searches for her identity as her sister creates a new one for herself in the world of competitive bodybuilding. In her essay “The People’s Exhibit,” Jill Logan recounts her experience as a juror on a murder trial, not only speculating on the victim’s life, but also earnestly trying to understand the defendants—who they were, what had made them do such a thing. And in “One Man’s Poison,” Kyoko Mori contemplates the paradoxically redeeming ways in which she is more like her abusive father than her loving mother.
Whoever you are at this moment—sure of your identity or on a journey of becoming your next self—we welcome you to the spring issue.
I have long taken comfort, and particular pleasure, in knowing that it is for the springtime issue I gather these poems into Colorado Review . . . the season is so justly given to affirmation and to forward hopes. Continuities usually present themselves in every syllable, blossom, and bole. But this time around, I find the elegiac and the backward glance. I find tender reluctance and valediction, almost as if the year were uncertain of itself and of its prospects. Climate change is now idiomatic, a final era in the words. As Keith Flynn avers in “The Exile,” the danger in the Beast is its seasons . . . and this danger can be suppressed only with what Mark Irwin (in “Herald”) poignantly refers to as sunset-hands. As Katherine Fallon instructs, “Make the harder choice.” So be it. If the spring of 2019 is to be accented to farewell, we have here one truly sublime instance and event of leave taking. “Jesus at the Greyhound Station” is the last poem that Rick Lyon (long a friend to this magazine and to me) was vouchsafed to write—composed on the road on the final night of his life. And, tellingly, it is itself an elegy for a departed poet-friend, C. K. Williams. Let us find affirmation in this heartbreaking fact: finality might very well prove to be the last, best occasion for enduring love. Rick loved until the very end, and then beyond the ending, here with you and me. Our idioms may surprise us yet.
Featured in This Issue
Albert Abonado, Amanda Ajamfar, Amanda Auerbach, Sally Ball, Mary Cisper, Colby Cotton, Ena Djordjevic, Mark DuCharme, Andrew Eaton, Maia Elsner, Katherine Fallon, Keith Flynn, Nica Franklin, Sam Gilpin, Pam Goldman, Kathleen Heil, Kathleen Hellen, Mark Irwin, Gilad Jaffe, L.A. Johnson, Kasey Jueds, John Kinsella, Charlotte Lieberman, Ananda Lima, Jill Logan, River Lord, Richard Lyon, J.C. Miller, Kate Monaghan, Kyoko Mori, Alex Mouw, Christopher Brean Murray, Brianna Noll, Lisa Allen Ortiz, Lance Phillips, Genevieve Plunkett, Derek Pollard, Elizabeth Powell, Byron Russell, Christopher Spaide, Martine Thomas, Laura Paul Watson, L.A. Weeks, Andrew Wessels, Jackson Wills, Ashley Wurzbacher