(VOLUME 35 ISSUE 2)
How can I stay alive knowing so little? (
(Mary Crow, p. 4)
What is the cure for air that slows the breath with sheer impurities…?
(Blanche Farley, p. 42)
…will there rather be cause for simple trust in the Santa Ana winds?
(elena minor, p. 81)
These are among the several questions poets construct in this issue, questions that serve as a rope swing for the reader to seize in a leap out over the atmosphere of wonder. Indeed, recent past editor Peter Anderson called Pilgrimage “a small magazine living the big questions since 1972.” Writing in this issue moves through those big questions’ layers with a variety of airy denizens: sound waves, ravens, sun, clouds, rain, wind, scents, parachuting servicemen, a rehab eagle, history, and a dragonfly tattoo. Which of these would you consider totems, keystone species, or canaries in the coalmine of your mental atmosphere?
When I broadcast the call for work for this issue, of course I was curious about what writers-as-artists could bring to discussions of weather and climate disruption, but I didn’t expect a whole lot of submissions explicitly on the latter concern. Indeed, more often than not, it appears “slant” in this issue—via meditations on bussing rather than driving, for example, as in Marilyn Krysl’s “Slow Bus Temple.” How long will the poetics of climate disruption be evident in snapshot thoughts and snippet images in contemporary writing? I’m not talking about Al Gore-length treatises, but rather occasions where climate disruption is one of many little fish glinting up from the wide net of care that writers can cast. And will future generations, of necessity, be post-despair? What comes after the helpless elegy, as writers take stock of what lives and lives anew?
Breath is our first language, and the spirited air our first shared element. Although here you’ll breathe in war vets’ anguish, human supplications, traffic, and uncertainties, you’ll also share sky-air in Grand Canyon, bugle-air with elk, and a good, old-fashioned, Pacific Crest Trail squall. Good thing you’ve proven yourselves, these thirty-some years, to be sturdy, well-built, all-weather readers.