Poetry signifies many “things” to many people dealing creatively or critically with the art. Recently, I bump into an idea about poetry’s nomenclature that is presented by Jonathan Silverman and Dean Radar in their book, The World is a Text, published in 2006. Here, poetry is metaphorically described as “a narrowed window into the living of life, often reflecting the ideas and emotions that people experience.” The idea of the “narrowness” of the poetic window through which one can have a satisfactory view of life is intriguing. Every poem is a small outlet into the big picture of life’s experiences and (un)realities. Of course, poetry is not a wide door through which one enters into and exits from the experiences of life. It is rather a narrow window that holds one down in a spot and lures one into having a full view of life’s beautiful and ugly compelling scenes and keeps one wondering about their banalities and mysteries. That sense of “holding down” is what makes poetry lives and lingers long in us after a fascinating encounter with it.
We cannot just forget the charming and evocative verses of John Donne, Anne Bradstreet, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Barret Browning, W. B. Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, Dorothy Parker, T. S. Eliot, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Shakespeare, Anne Sexton, Claude McKay, Rita Dove, Wole Soyinka, Veronique Tadjo, Kwesi Brew, Gladys Casely-Heyford, Kofi Awoonor, Abena Busia, Mazizi Kunene, Mabel Tobrise, Agostinho Neto, Amina Said, L. S. Senghor, Luvuyo Mkangelwa, Dennis Brutus, Omolara Ogundipe-Leslie, Christopher Okigbo, Flora Nwapa, J. P. Clark-Bekederemo, and Lola Shoneyin, just to mention few poets that have lasting impressions on us. It is that sense of imaginatively “(re)living” in a poetic text after one’s encounter with it that makes poetry a living form.
This issue features fine poems by Damon Marbut, Shoshana Cohen, Neil Ellman, Basit Olatunji, Jessica Tyner, Schuyler Peck, Robert Okaji, Abiodun Soretire, Joan McNerney, Adeola Goloba, Anthony Ward, Goodness Olanrewaju, Aneesha Roy, Gabriel Bamgbose, David Schwartz, ‘Deji W. Adesoye, Dyah Ikhsanti, Kousik Adhikari, Tyler Kline, Kevin Thornburgh, Tope Omoniyi, and John Landry that would keep you waiting and wondering at the narrowed window of poetic experience, an artistic magnifying lens into the living of life in different worlds.
Compliments of the season!