...from the editor


To risk the obvious, the source of a poet’s material is life. With its mass of contradictions – routine, surprise, change, loss, epiphany – we grow into something new, something deep-rooted and astonishing.
A bird sitting on the uppermost branch of a young Japanese weeping cherry on the hill.

Wind in the chimes at my window.

Garlic cloves and green onion roasting in the pan.

As an artist, the self that awakens in each of us has the presence of gift. It’s there. Hiding, waiting, urging. Sometimes we listen, and the world is beautiful – even in the midst of unexplainable grief or pain or anger. The world is beautiful for a moment. Suddenly, we see completely, and the words fall from our pens. From somewhere deep, hidden, an image grows to canvas – water over rock, wind in grass, shadow and field.

What matters is the moment. In that moment we are changed. That is our living. A tiny but marvelous poem by the great Czeslaw Milosz reinforces my vision of the artist and shows what I can’t explain:

Cathedral of my enchantments, autumn wind, I grew old giving thanks.
(Trans. Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass)

* * *

This issue of BFR, the largest regular issue to date, prepares us for the autumn wind, all those changes – some welcomed, some unexpected – that will fill us. In these pages, powerful voices – both new and familiar – comrades in word and paint in the struggle against silence – are “giving thanks.”

Be changed.

Sam Rasnake

Current Issue - Summer 2005