Pedestal’s editorial process is always an exhilarating and expansive experience. To see an issue come together – poem by poem, each with its unique voice, music, and intent – is gratifying and still, after all these years, brings me a rush of energy, a feeling of being on some kind of creative frontline. Also, quite honestly, each issue presents poems that other editors feel strongly about and make a stand for with which I might not immediately resonate but come to regard as excellent in their own ways, on their own terms. Hence, a certain objectivity or at least expanded subjectivity becomes possible and implementable.
I never saw this project lasting 20 years. I never really thought about it, if honest. We just kept putting out issues and around 10 years I remember thinking, wow, we’ve been doing this for a while now. Part of me thinks: Would this be a good time to conclude? Go out on a fairly high note, perhaps? But I don’t feel we’re complete yet. There are still more poems to publish, more books to comment on. Also, going forward, I’d like to see Pedestal sponsoring writing workshops and programs, perhaps for high school students and inmates, among other groups. If anyone has particular offerings in place or would like to collaborate in some way, please drop us a note at email@example.com.
Oh, I mentioned “more books to comment on.” Over the past several issues, I’ve been particularly impressed with the reviews we’ve run. Reviews are a significant way in which an ongoing and in-depth conversation about literature can be stoked and sustained. Reviews are important, I think, especially during this time when much dialog has been reduced to “liking” and “disliking.” More elaborate commentaries on art and the artistic process are valuable and, in 2020, even counter-cultural. For this reason, I’m committed to continued publication of book reviews, even though many other journals have ceased publishing them.
I want to thank the editors, guest editors, reviewers, and poets who have contributed their time, effort, and work to the magazine over the last twenty years. I feel a special gratitude for Arlene Ang, Michael Spring, and Susan Terris. The four of us have edited many issues together now, and I always benefit from and feel impressed by their editorial perspectives. With this issue, Arlene, Michael, and I were joined by Lynne Thompson (Susan will hopefully be in the editorial mix again in June), whose work has appeared in Pedestal several times now. She, too, contributed her editorial expertise to the process, and Pedestal 87 is better for her reading and involvement. I hope that you enjoy this issue.
Happy holidays, and all my best for an inspired 2021,
Editing Pedestal’s 20th-anniversary issue with John, Lynne, and Michael while in the midst of a semi-lockdown has certainly been a breath of fresh air. As always, it’s been a joy to go over the numerous submissions we receive and exchange insights on individual works that move us. During these difficult times, when we’re required to wear face masks in public and adhere to physical distancing, it’s even more important to stay connected with other people. I hope these poems bridge that gap somehow and resonate with our readers as they did with us.
Stay safe and happy holidays,
It was an honor editing this issue with Lynne, Arlene, and John. They are careful and keen editors with vision. We worked well together to find strong poems for a diverse readership. I believe the poems we selected, individually and collectively, offer something important for this time of racial tension, divided politics, and ecological crisis—all during a global pandemic! I hope the poems in this issue captivate you as much as they captivate me.
My maiden stint as a Pedestal Magazine editor was sublime on multiple levels. First, to read the submissions themselves, many from poets I hadn’t read before, was a welcome joy in and of itself as well as a distraction from feeling, as so many of us do, as if I’m under house arrest. In addition, there was the consideration of whether a particular poem would resonate with Pedestal readers and my fellow editors. The last and final step was the exchange with Michael, Arlene, and John, which was its own particular pleasure. At the end of a day, I hope you will find that we have selected (always a daunting task) a group of poems that reflect our different aesthetics, our guilty pleasures. Enjoy!
Have a safe holiday; keep
your eyes on the prize, Lynne Thompson