Letter from the (Guest) Editor
I met Triggerfish editor David Mehler around fifteen years ago—we live in the same town—and about ten years ago, I showed him three poems I had written (the first I had written since junior high). He kindly didn’t laugh. Instead, he invited me to join a critique group he was part of and told me get in the habit of reading poetry. So began my education.
Dave eventually invited me to submit work to Triggerfish Critical Review (TCR), and he and his then coeditors published a few of my poems. I kept writing, reading, and learning from the critique group, and eventually pursued an MFA at Portland State University. Next October, I’ll have a first book published by Unicorn Press—which shows, I think, what a little encouragement can lead to, as well as the power of what Dave believes in and puts into practice with Triggerfish–that sharing and talking about poems is worthwhile. I was delighted when he asked me a couple years ago to be an advisory editor for Triggerfish, and honored when he put this issue in my hands.
I’m grateful for the poets and artists who responded to TCR’s calls for submissions, and for the work represented here. Dave and I usually agree on whether or not a poem is a well-written poem, but we don’t always agree on what poems we like, so this issue may feel a bit different. I didn’t have any particular theme in mind. However, when I compiled the poems, I noticed that two questions seemed to be explored by many (though not all) of the poems: who am I, and what story will I choose to tell or believe? I suspect we ask and answer these questions in some form every day.
Mary Hatch’s paintings, full of action and tension, seem like scenes from particular stories from a particular world. Both Dave and I found them engaging. Pairing them with the poems of 25 contributors was difficult. I didn’t want the pictures to exert undue influence on the reading of the poems, nor did I want the world of the paintings to overshadow the various worlds of the poems. I hope you enjoy the correspondences you do notice, while keeping in mind they are separate works.
Dave is a great collector of potential epigraphs, but I am not, so this issue will jump right in.
Thanks for reading!
Lynn Otto, guest editor