It was a great honor to receive poems from some of my favorite poets writing today on a subject I have spent great time on over the past year while writing my book Man vs. Sky (YesYes Books) which is a book-length elegy written in the voice of my best friend following his suicide.
I cannot recall how the idea to write the book came to me but I do recall simply writing out of a great grief. Approaching the subject, I didn’t want to write a bunch of poems about being sad. I didn’t want to write a book that wallowed in self-pity and I certainly didn’t want to write poems that were like millions upon millions of poems about losing someone that have come before me.
I focused on the language. I looked for an interesting way to present the subject of his death. I tried to veer away from cliché. I tried to write a book that made my friend feel more present. I tried to write a book that helped me forget my friend was dead.
In the end, I am not sure that I succeeded. I certainly didn’t on all fronts.
Reading for this issue, I had similar expectations in mind. I wanted to read poems that were innovative. I wanted poems that went beyond raw grief and explored other areas, that surprised, that said more than what we often say to each other in our lives outside of paper. In other words, I was looking for good poems.
What I received from these great poets far exceeded my expectations. The light they bring here is staggering, profound, necessary, and real.
I hope, if anything, that you find something you need within.
Gale Marie Thompson
Oliver De La Paz