We all know that 2017 was a bizarre and stressful year. The number of failings our country has endured are far too long to list. We all felt them as they were happening. We all continue to feel them now. 2017 was a year that sparked depression, triggered memories of past abuses and left me feeling alone and confused, unsure of which thread of reality to follow.
The sad truth is, 2018 is not new—a false marker for change when nothing has really changed can be problematic. The chaos continues, and the truth remains warped. I hope I am not alone in asking, how do I not burn out?
While reading over Issue 24 of the Adroit Journal, my faith in 2018 has been restored. This collection of writing is a true love letter to the year ahead of us. It is a testament to what we should not forget, as well as a rallying cry for how we should move forward. The essence of this issue is my new year’s resolution.
I keep returning to Ama Codjoe’s poem, “Garden of the Gods”. Codjoe so simply and accurately states, “These days real life / feels like science fiction and science fiction / can be truer than life.” In his poem “Mama’s Heart”, Willy Palomo writes, “Our women always flee to save their children / from being slaughtered. Running is in our blood / and our blood has always been running.” These are the voices we need to keep revisiting: the ones that ask us to not look away.
Michelle Turner primes us for the challenge of lasting change in her poem “1425 Riverside, Apt. B”:
There is nothing
That can’t be fixed,
And that is almost true,
A future in which I share a storm
With one who sips it slowly.
I find that this new year comes with a new bargaining, a new balance. What does it mean to march forward while also holding onto ugly realities? What does it mean to have hope without forgetting the reason hope is needed? These writers act as truth tellers and lamp holders. This issue portrays the real emotional temperature of our country right now. I am hopeful for our forthcoming year. I take solace in the fact that these voices move through our world, restoring narratives that, for so long, have gone unheard and been neglected by those who have needed to listen most.
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Meghann Plunkett was the winner of the 2017 Third Coast Poetry Prize. She was also a finalist for North American Review’s 2017 Hearst Poetry Prize, as well as Narrative Magazine's 2016 30 Below Contest. Meghann is currently an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she was awarded the 2016 & 2017 Academy of American Poets College Prizes. Her poems appear in or are forthcoming from Narrative Magazine, North American Review, Adroit Journal, The Paris-American, Muzzle Magazine, Winter Tangerine, decomP Magazine, and storySouth, among others.
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