Letter from the Editor

I had the gift of spending two graduate semesters back to back working with the poet David Daniel. On the phone with David, I stood in a nondescript Jersey suburb, and pictured him steeped in Massachusetts glory. A ruckus going on behind him, crates of tea floating in a harbor. A frigate on fire. I heard the pause, a sip of coffee, the inhale of a cigarette. A longer pause. The exhale that arrived on my stoop in the form of a breeze. After a further silence, he gently said, I have lived with these poems.

It’s been a strange year for me thus far. I would have told you, I don’t code or design, nor care about other poets poems more than my own. And yet.

There were over 400 submissions within a month. There were more than a couple moments with it where I thought, Christ, what have I done? And yet, I can’t begin to tell you how special all of this has been. The faith and care that poets showed, risking themselves and their work–believing in what we were building, or simply taking the leap with us. I talked to the editorial team daily and you would have thought so much more was at stake the way we advocated and labored over it all. All of us using our limited free time, staying up late in the quiet hours or the early morning and building.

I am grateful for the exchanges I had with the poets in this issue. I believe in every one of these poems. And the voices and the settings and the reasons vary. I hope the work speaks to you and that you share it far and wide. There’s magic here, but you have to carry it on the wing.

I spoke in such big ways about all this leading up. And for those of you who know me, I suspect I’ve spoken a big game about alot of things over the years. For me, the reality of this has been better. If you’re surprised I pulled it off, I assure you no more than me. Truth is, I had so much help.

Thank you to Michele Karas, Philip F. Clark, T. Nicole Cirone, and Annell L√≥pez for their faith and work. Thank you for the friends and family who encouraged this work. Thank you to the poets who let me live with these poems for a time. It’s been the best time.

Welcome to the spring issue, our debut on a March morning, of The Night Heron Barks.

Click for Carl Phillips, Soft Western Light

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