Introduction to Issue 15

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One of the joys of doing a magazine like this one is that “you never know.”  You never know how themes will develop on their own, what ideas will suggest themselves and stuff that just happens, coming together in unexpected, unanticipated ways. As with the Lucky 13 Theme Issue, where Joan Colby sent me these killer, deadly sins poems, and I decided it made sense to add to them. This time around I received a couple of short poems starting with one from Dennis Herrell that I really liked then one from and Ally Malinenko that I felt I had to publish; his happy coincidence suggested that I should add to these, as I had done with Joan’s poems.  I recalled several poets who had sent me haikus, which I had decided I wasn’t going to use as a rule, though I love haikus, and others, who had sent me work I had let go. I contacted several of these poets and asked them to resubmit or send new work and a short poem feature was born.

Not to one to be tied down to too many rules, even my own, I decided to stretch the boundaries in another way.  I received several terrific poems from a writer and photographer whose work I had admired for some time, David Thompson. His modest request to, maybe accompany his accepted poems with a couple of recent photos, seemed reasonable to me. I have seen dozens of his photos in small press publications and every one of them had an unmistakable style and were framed in a way that each picture was a kind of poem without words.  We had never published photos before but was there any reason that we could not feature David’s work in two different forms? None that I could think of hence the mini-Thompson feature. 

Yet another unexpected theme was personal illness, in a particular, author’s who have been struggling with cancer.  Janet Buck sent me any number of incredible poems, as did Ally, who, in a few brief words, brought the battle home. Both of these poets are to be admired for their skill and their courage.  And then there was a book to review by Claudia Emerson who died from cancer and left a complete manuscript to be published posthumously, that reinforces the resiliency of the human spirit under the most difficult and taxing, life threatening situations.  Maggie Jaffe’s work and person is also eulogized in a posthumous collection of her poetry after an untimely death from the disease.

Finally, this is our largest, most diverse, and most challenging issue to date.  I suspect there is something here for everyone’s poetic taste plus the usual reviews, an editor’s essay and a call for manuscripts for the next issue, which will have no specific theme and will be the last of the year.  The anticipation is that Misfit 16 will be a Late Fall issue, with an editorial break through the winter holidays. And so onward.

Artwork by Gene McCormick