From the Ether
On Best Words
For DMQ readers who live in the states, the political rhetoric of the race for the White House heats up every day, with no end in sight until November. Candidates lob and fire words at their opponents. Words get taken out of context and get misused and abused. Sometimes the wrong words are spoken intentionally; and sometimes a “misspeak” is innocent, brought on by long hours on the campaign trail. In the midst of all the “de-meaning” that happens to words and language in a political season, perhaps this summer we can all appreciate even more the act of sitting down with a poem, or a book of poems, and reading words that are painstakingly decided on, that are invited into a poem only after they have been scrutinized with care and reverence. The poet who believes Coleridge’s definition of poetry—that it is “the best words in their best order”—often doesn’t make a final decision until a word has been looked up, pondered, compared, and spoken aloud to see how it sounds with what’s adjacent to it, and until that word’s etymology has been investigated to see what associations and historical attributes it might bring to a phrase or a line (for this last activity, the online version of Oxford English Dictionary is a godsend).
We hope you will enjoy reading the “best words” of this issue’s poets as much as we have. In addition to the poems of writers from the United States and Mexico, we are delighted to present the vivid textural paintings of our featured artist, Romanian-born Costel Iarca. Our Featured Poet editor is on hiatus but will return for the fall issue.
Regards, and a happy summer to you and yours—
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