I am honored and pleased to have been a doula in the birthing of this issue of a wonderful literary magazine. Jessica Hahn is a cool mom I met at the playground, and we've been hanging out for years; she's also a gifted writer who somehow finds the energy to perform at readings, to which she drags me along when I deign to leave my house exactly every blue moon.
She told me she was stressed out, working on the most recent issue of Passing Through, and asked if I wanted to read some of the submissions. While she and some other women drank wine and chased the kids back into the backyard and chatted, I repaired to a dark corner and sat happily with a red pen and her stack of poems.
I've been editing poetry since I was twelve. My mom, Marjorie Keyishian, is an amazing poet. I would watch her compose on her Underwood typewriter; mostly it looked like staring, followed by frantic clickity-clackity, followed by more staring, and a whole lot of smoking. One day, she flapped a piece of paper at me and said, "Read this over and tell me what parts don't flow." As I looked at the page, it was as if I saw a grid or a structure, and the parts of the poem that were extraneous, and I trimmed and made circles and drew lines. It felt very familiar. I cannot write poetry, but I do know how to shepherd a poem from concept to completion. Mom thought I would be able to and made sure I did. Many times over the years.
Somehow this never became part of my professional experience. I regret that. I work in magazines, not in literary publishing houses. But Jess reawakened that old habit in me, and I have enjoyed it so much.
Here it is.
We are shooting for the next issue this summer, if any of you gifted writers and artists in my circle want to be included. We're looking for 400 word submissions - poetry, prose, whatever. We're going to make it an amazing event as well. Big plans afoot.