Welcome to Volume III of Earthshine
From SMZ: A lot has changed since the first day we opened our laptops, and Earthshine was a place we could go. We've learned about ISSN numbers, about putting a journal into print, and we've learned more about what poets need from us and what we need from them. About weighing passion with form. About how to make a body of poems—from a group of people who will never be in the same room together, and who probably inhabit vastly different mental universes—fit into a unified whole. This is a whole not only larger than its parts, but which is a new entity; created unknowingly by the poets themselves, and by our choices. Dimensions have no meaning here, only voices, whether they are relative or in unison.
This hasn't changed: We love poetry, and we love how the minds of poets fit into our vision for Earthshine.
I just read an old Ursula LeGuin book, City of Illusions, in which her characters can mindspeak. In mindspeak there can be no lie; it is in speaking out load that the barriers of translation and intent can become the tools of deceit. Good poems border on mindspeak. Some poets write down whatever comes, and they find truths they didn't know they owned. Others plan how to express thoughts they have discovered. Yes, they are words, but either way they are straight from thought—thought captured in a jar of words. Then we know each other; we enter into each other's minds. Poems are true.
If poems are communication in one of its purest forms, they place us in an environment of beauty and hope, and one fraught with caution—like the world in which we live. The beauty is that we can connect, so purely, with truth as we know it. The caution is this: what do we have to say? Is it enough? Do we know ourselves? What is inside our human skulls that is big enough and full enough to make it worthwhile to mindspeak? Can poetry change the world? Do we have the thoughts it will require? Write to find out. Read to find out. Read the poems within this volume—there are clues.
Sally Moffitt Zaino
From JMM: What a fascinating journey Earthshine has turned out to be. When Sally suggested to me that we start a poetry journal, I didn't think about the new friends we would make or how we would share their stories. We've read our poets' struggles, their observations, their quiet contemplations, their angry rants and their puzzled questions. We've seen how they've faced losing loved ones and how they've weathered debilitating or potentially fatal diseases. Seeing the world through the eyes of the poets whose work we read gives us an intimate glimpse into their hearts — one that but for the poems, we would never see. It is a gift I didn't anticipate.
Our (Sally's and my) uncle, John Moffitt, who was a well-respected poet during his life (and a continuing inspiration to both of us), once wrote "I simply can't help writing poems..." That is how we feel, as poets, and as editors. We can't help writing them or reading them. The poems ask to be written, and we dutifully write them down, knowing that nothing will come of it but saying what must be said.
Plus, reading the words of our poets gives us hope. Because if there are more people out there who are as thoughtful and concerned about the state of the world as the poets we've read, maybe the future will turn out as well as we hope.