From the Editor…
In her poem “Ithaca” found in the early pages of this issue, Lauren Fedorko writes, “To be alive when there is so much hate is a marvel.” Indeed, whether in life or on the news or social media, it seems like hate has made itself a bit more visible over the past few years. However, these pages attest to the fact that we in the Mercer County arts community are lucky to possess a powerful tool to combat hate: literature, which is a form of love.
There have been many articles in recent years suggesting that reading literature can increase empathy. It makes sense that reading about the life of a person who is different from one would make one more empathetic, but I think it’s more than that. When reading a poem, one is learning to pay attention to the hidden world that breathes quietly below the hustle and bustle of daily life. This attention paid by the writer and the reader of a poem can resemble devotion, or love. The early-2018 movie Lady Bird touches upon this idea during a conversation the protagonist has with a nun. When the nun suggests that the protagonist must love her hometown, the protagonist denies this, saying that she merely “pay[s] attention.” The nun then replies, “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing, love and attention?” So much about writing a poem or a short story or a piece of nonfiction is about attention—attention to detail, to language, to character, to image, and to the world around us in all its vicissitudes. In paying attention to these things, in writing or in making any kind of art, we are devoting ourselves to something greater, and sharing whatever that “greater” thing is with the surrounding community.
There is so much to love in these pages, and so much variety: we have poems about mathematicians and fruit flies, stories about time travel and dystopias, and nonfiction about nutrition facts and outdated gender norms, as well as two beautiful pieces of black and white photography. And this great variety of art is home-grown right here in the Mercer County area! Luckily, as with our previous issue, this issue will be available both in print and online, so you can share your work with the larger world.
This issue has come together with help from the following people: fellow editors Roberta Clipper, Luray Gross, and Ellen Jacko; graphic designer Daniel Migliaccio; Wendy Humphrey, Brad Kent, and Kami Abdala; Dr. Robert Kleinschmidt, Dean of the Liberal Arts Division; and Dr. Jianping Wang, President of MCCC. Thank you all. Of course, the greatest thanks of all goes out to the contributors, who share with us your art, and to the readers, who share with us your attention.