When I sit down to write these notes, I am often at a crossroads of elation and exhaustion; elated at the content of Pegasus issues and exhausted with the expectations, pressures, and assaults of everyday American life in Kentucky. These challenges are just a part of life. And yet, they can become exhaustingly complicated and horrifically complex and threatening. They are both real and perceived, and I guess in being perceived at all, also impacting my reality. I’m sure too, in this way, I am no different from you or anyone else. We all feel these pressures and pains.
This is a clear indication that you need to step back, I can hear my therapist saying. In that voice-of-wisdom way he has of pointing out the totally obvious. It’s the same voice that says, your shoe is untied.
Of course, he is not wrong. But he’s not 100% correct either. I do need to step back; we probably all need to step back from the mundane apocalypses of our lives.
And poetry can help us do that. For me, and probably for you reading this, few things part through the great and terrible economics of daily life the way a poem does. Just yesterday, I was sitting in my car in a busy parking lot waiting for a coworker when I pulled out my phone to read a poem. Having only a minute or two. Pat Mora’s “My Rock” flitted in to grant me a subtle moment of refined calm, served to split my day’s doubt and certainty with a few stanzas that connect to the “vast blue canvas” of sequenced possibilities to which “I bring what I am.”
But poetry should not simply be a salve or a pep talk convincing us we are ok. Poetry does and should do so much more: challenge us, wound us, warn us. This issue of Pegasus gives us all of these and more. Whether we are “Waiting” at the nursing home with Katie Hughbanks, navigating, with Marta Dorton, a “redemption drive,” or recalling an introduction to “Sex, Faulkner, and Godzilla” with Linda Bryanta, we are, at each moment engaging in a deeper sense of the reality of our existence.
In addition to excellent poems from submitters and book reviews of member publications, this issue also features the winners of the Chaffin/Kash contest with commentary by Frank X. Walker and our Grand Prix winners and commentary by Joy Priest. Wherever you turn, this issue shares and celebrates the grand minutiae and the minor terrors with refreshing and inspiring words that are needed now, as ever.