As we prepare this issue, it happens to be the time of year for envisioning change. And in that spirit, we’re trying something new: after many years of arranging our issues by genre, we’re mixing things up, interspersing the stories, poems, and essays throughout the magazine. We hope that this new layout gives readers a different, perhaps more energizing experience with Colorado Review, encouraging greater exploration among the genres—a poem you might have otherwise missed, an essay you may not have read—and creating unexpected conversations and synergies between the works.

Perhaps reflective of our redesign, a current of transformation—for better or worse—vibrates through much of this issue’s prose. In Alyssa Northrop’s “Anatomy,” a young woman, still recovering from the death of her abusive ex-boyfriend, begins medical school but struggles to manage her guilt, her studies, and a new love interest. A college student, in Iheoma Nwachukwu’s “Vertigo,” tries to negotiate his future with his bishop father, who desperately wants him to pursue a different path. And in C. E. Poverman’s “Half Wives,” a rough-around-the-edges defense investigator in San Francisco who dearly wants to be a father comes up with an unusual plan that wreaks some havoc in his life. In his braided essay “Model Homes,” David Schuman recounts childhood visits with his parents to model homes in suburban New Jersey while also reflecting on his father’s current memory loss, ideas of home, contemporary art, and Oskar Schindler. Through the lenses of trauma and illness, Renée Thorne’s essay “Excavations” explores the ties between physical and religious disembodiment. And finally, Raksha Vasudevan’s “Pulling a Geographic”—a reference to the belief that by changing location we can escape our demons—recalls her time as a young aid-worker in Mali and contemplates colonialism, violence, and addiction.

As always, we’re delighted to have gathered these stories, poems, and essays for you and hope that among them you find inspiration for your own transformation in the new year.


* * *

In this ominous, oracular, and open-ended spring of 2020, I am mindful of key words, shy perhaps of anything more eloquent, skittish about phrases and predictions. And I’m grateful to take these words from our poets themselves. From Kristina Andersson Bicher, I take the word “hope,” in the sure and certain knowledge that hope is always the first flower, the little wound on the branch that soon becomes blossom. From Geoffrey Babbitt, I take the word “panic,” for surely the year ahead will be momentous and, given the times, every moment prepares a panic of its own. Yet Babbitt also takes care to remind us of the godhood in panic—florid Pan. And lastly, from Carl Dennis’s tender and prescient “The Fall of Man,” I take the word “reprieve.” We might very well hope for the very wrong thing. We most often panic needlessly. Yet faith and foresight, folly and fractiousness may just win us the reprieve we have no reason to expect. Heaven has a sense of humor after all, and the wounded branches laugh.

Spring somehow elegizes itself with the gift of flowers, and so I’d like to present this season’s coronal of poems to Harriet Zinnes, a poet who departed this life a few months ago, just short of her 101st birthday. Harriet’s poems often graced the pages of this journal, always with a combination of joy and pathos uniquely her own. Her style was both effervescent and unfailingly acute, “just the thing,” as Jimmy Schuyler would say. She will be missed.


Featured in This Issue

Kazim Ali, Geoffrey Babbitt, Gay Baines, Gale Batchelder, Kristina Andersson Bicher, Jeanette Clough, Emma De Lisle, Carl Dennis, Isabel Duarte-Gray, Regan Good, Amanda Gunn, Michael Homolka, Miriam Huettner, Lisa Isaacson, Laura Kolbe, Angie Macri, Louise Mathias, Daniel Moysaenko, Alyssa Northrop, Iheoma Nwachukwu, Skyler Osborne, Oscar Oswald, Nathan Parker, Franco Paz, Thomas Pfau, Charles Poverman, Nicholas M Regiacorte, Jack Ridl, David Schuman, Benjamin H Seanor, Yerra Sugarman, Richard Tayson, Renée Thorne, Leah Tieger, Emily Van Kley, Raksha Vasudevan

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