Greetings to all, and welcome to our 2011 Spring/Summer issue. This edition comes at a time of great change and challenge for our planet. In the Middle East, we see popular uprisings sweeping the region as ordinary people find their democratic voice, while in Japan, we have witnessed a disaster of almost incomprehensible proportions. Images of incredible loss and destruction have filled our television screens on a daily basis since the earthquake struck. But even in the face of such devastation, the quiet dignity and resilience of the Japanese people has amazed the world. There is a real sense that, far from breaking those bonds that bind their society together, this catastrophe has actually strengthened them.
The speed at which these stories have spread throughout the world has been astonishing; a century ago, news and images would take weeks or even months to travel around the globe. These days, with just a few keystrokes or mouse clicks you can watch events live from anywhere on the planet. The internet has revolutionised our lives and there is no doubt we live in an information-rich age. Poetry, of course, has not been isolated from this. Interested readers can now read work from any country in any language from the comfort of their lounge room. This explosion of access has served to empower both the artist as well as those who wish to publish, analyse or review their work. One area that has particularly benefited from this exchange is the translation of literary works from one language to another. So, if you have always marveled at the skill required to translate a piece of work while keeping true to the form, content and meaning of the original, please pay our translation section a visit.
Suitably, in light of current events, this special issue also brings you a section on Japanese Short Forms. Many of us became familiar with Haiku at school without truly understanding the subtlety of the form or appreciating that it was just one part of the rich culture and heritage that make up this genre. I invite you to visit as guest editor Melinda Hipple presents some examples of Japanese poetic forms. Please don’t miss our interview with Jane Reichhold, an expert on these forms. While we’re on this subject, Pirene’s Fountain is sponsoring a print anthology for relief efforts in Japan. If you are interested in participating, please check out our submission guidelines for this project.
We also celebrate two exceptional contemporary, award winning poets. Our showcased poets are Aimee Nezhukumatathil, whose combination of American upbringing and rich Asian heritage provides a unique, humorous and exotic outlook on life, and Alex Grant, who has made a name for himself as a writer of imagination, clearly demonstrated by his use of language and metaphor.
Over the year we have received and published many excellent works by exceptional poets, sadly we can only award one prize. The nominees for the 2010 PF Editors’ prize are K.J. Van Deusen, Melinda B Hipple, Richard Oyama and Craig Colin Smith. Congratulations to Craig Colin Smith on the selection of his poem “Song of Oak!”
Finally, I would like to wrap up by mentioning our featured poets for our October issue: Californian poet, CJ Sage, respected writer as well as the editor of National Poetry Review, and Scott Owens who has published more than 800 poems and received many awards over his long career. Join us again in October to read about them.
As always, I thank our highly valued readers and contributors for supporting our journal. Now please take your time with our new issue; we hope you derive as much pleasure exploring it as we have bringing it to you.