Letter from the Editor
Toward the end of August, Don Zirilli, himself an editor of two other online journals, sent this note to the Triggerfish editorial board:
Samuel Menashe, a poet, died today at age 85. From his obituary:
“Most editors do not read poetry,” he told the reference work Contemporary Authors in 1984. “The poetry editor is almost invariably the house poet or a person who is working with the interlocking directorate of establishment poets. Government censorship could not be more effective, but here you can’t be sent to Siberia — you are just kept out of print.”
I take that as a challenge to be different than other editors, and to provide a venue for Siberian poets.*
My thinking is, what editor wouldn’t want to provide a venue for Siberian poets? Exotic, downtrodden and oppressed, consigned or self-consigned to oblivion and therefore honest, authentic and refined in the crucible of the ignored, the irrelevant by a Lady Gaga culture. Bring on the outsider, the unknown, the online blogging Siberian poet who is spurned or spurns the publishing establishment.
The problem I’m discovering, as a new senior editor of a relatively new online journal is finding them, or helping them to find us…. So we had to do a little asking here and there, and knock on some doors, and others somehow found us, which is always a little miracle to my mind.
Some Siberians are such true poets, or have been sitting at their writing desk in Siberia so long they tell you to go f……..
Well the internet and online world can help to find folks in this regard, because I think all poets want an audience and desire to have their work recognized. Is any poem complete without a reader? All poets leave footprints or usually some sign of their presence somewhere.
Editors, and especially editors who also happen to be poets, are a little like magpies. We fly around the neighborhood, always on the lookout for shiny things wherever we can find them to take back and line our nests—whether that translates into writing a poem ourselves, or collecting and including the work of others in the next issue of the journal we edit, it’s what we do, part of our nature and calling. The mix is eclectic and hybrid, and always one looks for something new and outside the expected, where the shine is induced through language, metaphor and playing within or outside tradition, inside or outside the establishment. Why? Because we crave experience, that little high, a window into the life or lives of another, or a dream, that glimpse at a better or possible world, or perhaps just something reflective, blinding for a glimmering burning second, whether it’s a lost button, crumpled foil at a landfill, gold jewelry inset with a precious gem, or a shard of a plastic chrome-painted lugnut cover. Sometimes it isn’t about what could be called taste or quality or recognition so much as something that merely catches and shines for a moment in eye, then fires off in the brain.
Who can know the mind of a triggerfish–they can be very aggressive and arbitrary. We hope you enjoy issue #8. Huge thanks to all the contributors who were generous with their time and work and the advisory board of editors, a couple of whom have work in this issue. It’s been a blast!
*Note: When I talk about “Siberian” poets above, I want to qualify and make clear that I am not referencing the actual current-day Siberia or its native people, proud of their ethnicity and heritage, but a Siberia as gulag, 20th century icon and symbol for suppression, outer darkness, and inhospitable living conditions. However, if a native Siberian were ever to submit to us a poem (and it had been translated into English so that we could understand it), that would be an exciting and happy day.