I took up residence in the Toronto airport once. The reasons are a long story and not the one I’m telling. Toronto has two airports. This was the one all in glass. They had a sushi bar that also served coffee. Lattes named after famous novels. I drank from The Awakening twice. Tried The English Patient with evaporated milk, couldn’t finish Ulysses. Ate my weight in airport sushi. I ran into the poet H.L. Hix. We were both trying to get to London by way of Canada. Harvey had a story too, but not the one I’m telling.
A year into our being, the poets who sent us work had their own sense of us, the editorial team budding with confidence. Like the year, this issue felt hard-fought for, and I’m both excited and a little relieved. The depth of field here is special. This was the first season where we wrestled with work from former contributors and how to make that sound with new voices. Continued support is important to us. We wouldn’t be much of a sanctuary if we said there was no return. But still, it was paramount to create opportunities and let new poets be heard. I hope we found the range. Thank you to the editorial team for all their work and vision. Thank you to Rebecca Chace for lending voice to Jean Valentine and Copper Canyon Press for helping to see us through — for this and so many other reasons, this issue is special for me. Thank you to Laurie Saurborn for her notes to our barking sound. As always, thank you to the poets, everyone who sent us work and everyone who continues to get out the word.
Building a poetry journal is a bit like waiting to take flight. You can guarantee a number of happenings that would never quite take place anywhere else, not that way. A cross-section of people hopeful or weary. Everyone with a story. A blue ribbon tied to the handle of a leopard-print suitcase. Sea urchin with a quail egg cracked over it at the Novel Coffee and Sushi Bar. What you mistook for a dare was Harvey Hix rather emphatically saying, don’t eat that before boarding a seven hour flight to the poetry residency of your dreams. Little did I know then, the journey would take me farther, the destination somewhere else. That thing smarter types than me say about process. Have the window seat or climb out on the wing, take in the view. Harvey likes it if you talk to him for the entire flight.
Welcome on the morning of the Lunar New Year to the winter issue of The Night Heron Barks.
Read Jean Valentine’s “You Speak”