It’s January and that makes me feel like I’m supposed to know who I want to be. It’s the month of resolutions, of hopes and plans for the new year. Friends post about their new projects and ask about mine, and I discover I have to say, “I don’t know.”
I’d like to think that’s not a cop-out, that the process of discovering who you want to be and what you want to do next is important and complex enough to warrant a good deal of time. That the rush and swirl of the world is best resisted in this case. I should only speak for myself and my own process, but I’m tempted to make it a larger pronouncement: hurry is counter-productive, whether in the art of self-making or the art of art-making.
I don’t mean people must take a certain number of weeks on each poem, or count their revisions and aim high. I mean that the painstaking work of using language to make something greater than the sum of its parts demands some time apart from the river of electronic information and connectedness—the writer as rock, with the world flowing around them—and that time should be honored.
How else can we discover the truths about divorce, shame, ghosts, fathers, the body in joy and in pain? The pieces in this issue are products of that time spent apart, gems of insight and humanity mined and polished and brought back to us by writers of enormous courage and skill. And we, at Sweet, are grateful for them.
–Katie Riegel, Poetry Editor