Letter from the Editor
Poets, aficionados, mavens, hola and hello.
It has not reinvented itself, no—just re-self-esteemed itself.
After a hiatus of some months (it was spotted vacationing in
Bordeaux) Speechless returns, now in a room of its own. Independent
Speechless continues to be published—whatever that might mean in the
Web netherworld—by that notable entity Tebot Bach. liz gonzález—She Who Is—remains Eternal, and the Assistant Editor. Larry Colker
carries on and sallies forth as our sturdy GMBGW.
This might in fact be our official debut, since we never had a
proper one. We began as a single entry on Poetix.net, then slowly
added features. Finally we were like that Thurber sketch of a giant
woman with arms and legs sticking out the windows and doors of her
house. We had to move next door, where a bigger place—a
fixer-upper—had been put on the market.
Half by chance, this Winter/Spring 2005 Speechless appears in
National Poetry Month. We like National Poetry Month well enough,
though every time a thing becomes “Official” the ornery part of us
wants to hightail it over to some icy unsanctioned part of the year,
or some bone-dry month bereft of poetry. Serendipity, however,
placed us in April, and we don’t argue with Her.
These virtual pages contain returning features, liz’s “In Review”
column, open to all comers so long as they be orderly and literate,
and “Visual Cues” which explores the to and fro, give and take,
between poetry and visual art. Keven Bellows looms large in both of
these. Again, Serendipity weighed in, and rightly so.
“Double Feature” seems an inevitable but more interesting
off-shoot of “Sneak Previews”. The other was fine at first, then one
day my practice of simply posting bios, two poems apiece, back cover
quotes and front cover images seemed suddenly…strangely uninspired.
So, Sherman Pearl and Richard Beban took up the challenge to
contribute an autobiographical detail they’d “never told anyone, or
hardly anyone”. No book cover quotes appear; instead the poets
themselves “blurb”—yes, another noun’s graduated to a verb—one or
two poets, living or dead. Above and beyond the novelty aspect, it’s
interesting, isn’t it, or revealing, or somehow useful, to know whom
a writer admires, and why. Additionally, it allows in a sample of
prose writing along with the poetry.
“Great Salutations” continues, with a striking contribution from
Philip Levine. This account of his first meeting with Thomas
McGrath, after the McGrath had been fired from his teaching position
for refusing to cooperate with the House UnAmerican Activites,
presents the art of the letter at its best – personal yet
transcending the plight and circumstances of a single life.
Most splendid of our new features? The Guest Star page—it will
invite other organizations and entities to introduce themselves and
curate poems, or—as the case may be—whole poets. Such a shame the
phrase, “I’m so excited about (my new TV show, my new movie…)” has
been done to death and ground to mill seed on celebrity talk shows.
If it hadn’t we could be excited about this section devoted to the
historic World Stage in Leimert Park, and introduced by the new
reading series director there, Jawanza Dumisani. But it has so we
Also among the new—an essay from me on the sometimes call and
response dynamic between poetry and the news. It began as a
commonplace “Ready for their Close-up,” then grew.
There will be no further essays from me—I’ve done my part and had my
say—but Speechless is most interested in credible essays or
lively reviews from others—or rather, essays and reviews from
lively, credible writers. Poetry we have plenty of. But, Essayists,
Reviewers? Don’t call us, we’ll call you—Not.
Don’t forget to write. Don’t hesitate to call.