1999 (Volume 11)
Life and death, beginnings and endings surround us in these pages. When we look at the selections in this year's issue, we see the cycle of life. Poems, stories and essays show the themes of birth and death and the passion of relationships.
Paula Belnap of Chicago in her prize-winning story, "Mothers and Daughters," writes "Belly growing like a rain cloud, aching to relieve the baby drought of 13 long years." A baby girl is born, grows up, and eventually has a baby girl. And similarly, Theresa Shroeder's poem "Birth" shows a mother's joy at the arrival of a girl. Elisabeth Birmingham's "Marshmallow Creme" reminds us that some mothers don't make curtains or lead a Cub Scout den. "Mornings are so bad because nights are so good, my mother told me, smoky-voiced, smelling of her night: aftershave, tequila, and the kisses blooming purple on her neck." This mother reminds us that new life is found in the sensual and physical, the things of the earth.
We turn the pages and find images of death. David Wehmeyer of Wisconsin won the poetry award for "On Target." We get inside an elephant's consciousness as the first bomb dropped by Allies on Berlin falls toward him. "But were he to look up toward a single falling object, physics and limitations would split his brain like a laser's epiphany."
We are all bound together by life's cycle of birth, passion and death. It is what connects us as humans.
C0VER: "Imprinting" / Cathy Palmer / oil on canvas