This inauguration Friday may seem like an odd time to make a happy announcement. Much of the nation is in an appropriately somber mood, worried about today and fearful about tomorrow. Yet it feels important to this editor to do what we writers and artists do best in times of trouble: persevere, continue our work, and uplift the words of those speaking the truth in even the most uncertain times. That poetry can continue to be a source of joy and a catalyst for understanding and empathy in the days ahead is a comfort to me, as I hope it will be to many of those reading this post.
It’s with an eye toward those days ahead that I’m pleased to welcome Assistant Poetry Editor Stephen Lackaye to our Issue 10 masthead.
Long-time readers of the journal will remember Stephen’s poems “Butterfly” and “Self-Portrait in Dystopian Landscape,” the latter of which is the title poem of his new, debut collection.
While Stephen may be new to the scene of full-length poetry collections, his roots in the literary world grow deep indeed: he’s studied at University of Southern California, University of Edinburgh, and Johns Hopkins University, and you can find his poems in American Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Normal School, RHINO, and Spoon River Poetry Review, to name just a few. Stephen’s also been working for quite some time in one of the most important venues for literary citizenship: the bookstore. While many of us think of literary citizenship as something for writers and editors to cultivate, booksellers like Stephen play an incredibly important, even activist role in the literary community by championing the books and writers who shape our cultural conversation. It’s truly an honor to have him working alongside me in selecting work for our tenth issue.
In the coming weeks, look for Stephen’s guest blogs about his work in book selling at Powell’s Books in Portland, as well as on the craft and practice of poetry.