Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

In Memoriam

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

In a sense, the soul of any magazine is a joint creation of its contributors, and of no magazine is this truer than Parnassus. To write a long essay on poetry is hard enough, but to do so in a lucid, lively, engaging manner is a very tall order indeed. It takes a virtuosic writer to pull off such a tightrope performance, and a highly dedicated one as well, since the job involves putting in countless brow-furrowing hours for modest pay. It also involves a great deal of contact with the editors. The trickiness of our assignments, along with our - how to put it? - less than supersonic publishing schedule, means that we typically end up nudging writers through multiple drafts over a period of months. Though this drawn-out process (Chinese water torture, some would call it) can make for friction and raised hackles, it can also nurture a kind of intimate camaraderie, and not infrequently there springs up between writer and editor a bona fide friendship. Some of our contributors were friends first, but more often it's the other way around: We become friends with those we edit.

For us, the one downside of this familial closeness, as of any human attachment, is that we keenly feel the loss when a contributor dies. We have, of course, suffered these bereavements from time to time over the years, but 2008 brought an unprecedented cluster of them. …

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