...from the editor


From what universe does art emerge? Is it need? Or is it purely voice? There are certainly other possibilities: connection, altruism, beauty. Each one a perfect point of origin. The purpose, however, may be all of these, may be none of these. Art is art. Simple as that – or maybe not so simple.

As writers and artists, we may never know, in any ultimate sense, how or why we create works. Maybe to understand the process is to kill off any power in the creative impulse.

I’m grateful to the contributors of this special issue – the world as universal, the world as personal, from the female perspective. The works have given me insight into a part of life that I can’t get to, and for that I say thank you. These selections are powerful – works that should be studied, and surely works that can teach us all.

Many of the writers and aritsts have written comments, allowing us a deeper appreciation for the works themselves. Four poets – Knight, Piercy, Hudspith, and McGlynn – have included audio files. The readings move us closer to the very act of creating the poems. With their readings, we hear the breath of the poetry. And if you listen closely, you might hear the still-point that birthed the words.

As an introduction to the issue, some lines by Muriel Rukeyser come to mind:
we walk
we will make

we protest
we will go planting

Make poems
seed grass
feed a child growing
build a house

Whatever we stand against
We will stand feeding and seeding

I walk
I will make

“Wherever,” from Breaking Open
With elegance and rigor, Rukeyser fuels her poem with the wonder of the creative process that is both universal and female. “Wherever” there is “planting” and “feeding,” the house will be built. And our houses – a metaphor for art – must be built.

Welcome to the issue.

Sam Rasnake

Current Issue - Winter 2006