Letter from the Editor
This first issue is notable not just for being inaugural (pop corks), but for being so full of phrases that give pleasure. Here's a few, as amuse-bouche:
"I have sometimes
found you hundreds of miles out to sea"
"Marriage, was that the trouble?"
"They carried him from the sea on his shield"
"These sheets of sound
have pound for pound,
expended fields of pergoram"
If you don't find these turns of phrases intriguing, enticing, I fear that we cannot be friends. (For I selected these poems for the issue myself.)
But... if they happen not to be your cup of tea, I hope that you'll look in future issues for texts brought in by my editorial colleagues -- their taste is certainly going to be greener or blacker than mine, sweeter or more dry, warmer or colder, and perhaps more to your liking. Allow me to explain about the unique nature of our editorial practice.
In this "long tail" cultural marketplace of ours, charged by information technology and brimful of editorial enterprises -- blogs, 'zines, social media curation, online journals and print mags and all the rest -- you'd be a fool to attempt to attract a readership just by pleasing readers. The audience is too fractured and fractious, and too participatory; chasing their attention by trying to suit their various preferences is a sport of allowing one tail after another have a go at wagging the dog. It seems to me that Marianne Moore's advice to writers -- that you'll be almost sure to please others, if you're overwhelmingly honest about pleasing yourself -- provides a partial solution to editors, who want to react constructively to the cultural flood.
To the point, what we've elected to do with PoNE is to gather texts which have been individually selected by a single editor as worthwhile reading. These are personal decisions; we don't come together with a single Editorial Voice, and don't aim for editorial consensus. The hope is that these will give what readers found us, all the benefit of an mediated rapport with our editors (whose acumen, range of reading, and taste are worth attending to), even while we benefit as collaborators from the efficiency of having a single editorial venue for our selections. In the footer below each poem, you'll see a statement: "Selected by X for PoNE"; the same information is available in the index of poems for the entire journal.
So: if you find yourself nodding in appreciation as you read a text, look not just for that author's re-appearance in other issues, but also for other selections by that editor. We hope the result is an ecumenical, variously textured, and surprising publication.
Zachary Bos, Boston, June 2012