From the Ether

editorís note


On Gratitude

I went walking this morning in hopes of clarifying some ideas I had for this column. A walk can be a terrific resource for problem solving, whether how to unknot a poem Iím working on, to revive myself after hours at the computer, or as in this case, to discover the way into something I want to write. By the time I got out the door, the fogís early morning shroud had lifted, heady scents of jasmine and wisteria filtered the bright, cool air, and the lately returned mockingbird was having at it. Spring in northern California, and the weekend under my feet. I remembered a phrase Iíd just heard Peter Malae read from his new novel, What We Are, an anecdote the main character repeats to himself: breathe out gratitude. That didnít seem so hard; I could breathe gratitude in and out on such a morning.

Getting this issue out has been a particular challenge. Weíre an all-volunteer, otherwise busily occupied staff of editors; itís actually somewhat of a miracle we pull the DMQ Review together issue after issue. My hopes of producing an issue in time for National Poetry Month were seriously hampered, however, by my own schedule, the recent release of two books, the annual AWP conference held this year in April, and finally, taxes. Taxes took out our hardworking, unnamed webmaster, but here we are with a terrific issue for which I am most grateful to the collaborative efforts of all our staff , including a new addition, Dean Rader. And, itís still April!

But the idea to consider gratitude at all came about two weeks ago as I began to order the poems accepted for Spring 2010. I do this the way I order poems for any collection. I lay them out around the dining table and begin to circleóreading, rearranging. It was the sight of these poems stretched around the table that moved me to gratitude for the talent, work and hope each represent. Itís a full issue. On the table lay 26 individual gestures of the creative human spirit, of the poetic mind, of the conviction that poetry matters. What a privilege to play some part in the process of bringing this good work to the public view. What a thing to be entrusted with this task.

I have gratitude, too, for the talented artists who issue after issue share their images here and enliven our pages and minds. Iím pretty damn excited by featured artist Charles Farrellís marvelous collage and photomontage. Wild and wonderful!

Itís my hope, and I believe the hope of all the editors here at the DMQ Review, that this issue will offer you many opportunities to breathe in poems, our uncommon language, and to breathe out gratitude for the words and worlds shared here.


Sally Ashton

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