From the Poetry Editor’s Desk

From the Poetry Editor’s Desk

“…’See now what Dulness and her sons admire;
See! what the charms, that smite the simple heart
Not touch’d by Nature, and not reach’d by Art.”
Alexander Pope, The Dunciad: Book III, l.226-228

 

 

Art lives. It can be commercial, it can be a movie, it can be haute couture, it can be molecular gastronomy. In poetic form, it can be formal, symbolic, experimental, pastoral, instructive, haiku, stream-of-conscious, epic. I’ll read it all. My only qualification is that it be good. Which is by itself a statement that would seem paradoxical: “Where do you get off qualifying good?” Who are you to judge?” And to that I say “Who am I not to judge?”

Fortunately, I have an out: the Triggerfish editorial board. Our process is simple: poems are stripped of their authors and given to us. Poems are discussed and lamented over. Tempers rise and feelings get hurt. But the discussion goes on, different jurists picking up on nuances of the work, taking sides. Much time is spent discussing the work. I’ll say that again: discussing the work, not the poet. The work. The work is what is important. And the group that has read and gotten flushed faces is a wonderful, intelligent group of people who know that at the heart of any artistic discussion isn’t whether you like or dislike a piece, but why.

My role has been to sift through the arguments, to read again and again and again the poems (for poems shouldn’t be disposable, read once and flushed away) and coming to a decision as to what should go forward. It is too much to ask you the reader to like the entirety of the selection within, but it is my hope that you bring your own artistic sensibility, your critical ability, and a willingness to explore the what & why of your particular likes and dislikes. We owe ourselves that much.

 

 

Respectfully,

 

Brendan McEntee

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