For the Spring 2004 issue: two editors-in-chief, two editor’s notes!
A Tale of Two competing Aesthetics
Once upon a time there was a poet. But before she was a poet, she was a kid. And on her ninth birthday, her mother gave her a book of poems. They were all love poems. The book had a velour cover with gold letters that spelled out “LOVE.” And there were some poems about sex that she didn’t understand, and there were some poems about storms and fires and fields and birds that she kind of understood. And she read them over and over, even the ones about sex, especially the ones about birds and she memorized them. Then she started to write her own, and they were kind of like the ones in the book but worse.
Then she spent twelve years trying to break out of the velour-covered love mold. She thinks she’s almost there.
Once upon a time there was another poet, and this story made him gag.
Welcome to the The Minetta Review Spring 2004. When Steve and I started talking about design and he said something about naked aliens, I knew I was in trouble. I wanted bird-drawings, anatomy illustrations, abstract black and whites. I wanted uniformity. I thought just maybe I’d be smart enough to sabotage all of Steve’s plans by forming an alliance with other staff members and voting Steve off the design island, but it didn’t work. I had the votes, just not the vengeful opportunistic hate.
The moral of the story is that a magazine came of out of it. It is the result of the myriad of tastes of those that make up our staff, whose liberal and conservative poles are represented by Steve and me, respectively, as co-Editors-in-Chief. But that’s putting it too simply. This magazine is derived from a deep-seated respect for the value of collaboration and feedback. And open to the possibility that our individual aesthetic is not the end-all-be-all of good poetry. That maybe if I could open my heart to naked aliens, and if steve could hear the birdsong, we might both be better off as people and as poets.
Or maybe we should just stick to our guns. You decide.
When people come up to me on the street and ask me what art is, I reply that art is power (because it is) and cite the best poets ever, Whitman, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Dan Bern, all poets whose success derives from power, the power to try something new despite objections from the masses. Next, I show them pictures of naked aliens (because I like being weird and naked aliens do something for me). Last, I grab a beer and watch Gilmore Girls (because it’s Tuesday night, and what are we doing on the street anyway). By this point, most people regret asking me about art.
When I asked Lindsay to write my editor’s note, because I was feeling lazy, I really didn’t expect the first paragraph to be written as it was. But I guess Lindsay is very good at capturing people’s voices, because that’s what I might have written, had I not been feeling lazy.
Recently I wrote a poem that started:
Lindsay pretended to like my design of the Spring 2003 issue,
In order to maintain our friendship
I pretended to like her bird poems
In order to maintain our friendship
When confronted with the truth,
We both used the phrase, “It grew on me.”
Lindsay’s response to this poem was, “What friendship?” But all biting truth (and surprising humor) aside, when people have extreme notions of aesthetics, they’re bound to reject things on theory only, but when they give the actual poems or designs a chance, they may find them artistically rewarding. Lindsay and I would do well to follow a more nuanced approach to avoid the pitfalls of “Art is . . .” I’m willing to try something new
Anyway, that’s my two cents. I hope you enjoy the magazine.
All the best,
“silent protest” Reed C. Flaschen
“For Wendy Ashbery” Jonathan Fedors
“No Subject (Love)” Steve Dube
“Daughter” Katie Domaingue
“Angel’s Eye” Suzanne Nielsen
“School of the Arts” Barry Spacks
“Out of the Woodwork” Kate Lobosco
“Sewing” Rebecca Linn
“In Which Verlaine Shoots Rimbaud” John Gilgun
“Wife with Moving Hands” Tim Bellows
“Elementary Photography” Tupelo Hassman
“Everyday Poetics in One Sitting” Siobhan Ciminera
“The Daughters of Lot” Michael Steffen
“The Natural Order of Everything” Cheryl Snell
“The Crooner” Eileen McVety
“Reunion” Lindsay Reckson
“Erasing Parentheses,” “Mozart to the Gills,” “Nightmare that We Write in a Language in which Every Shape is a Word” Marion Deutsche Cohen
“In the office of imaging, echoes, grams, and rays” Sarah White
The Spring 2004 Editorial Board
Editors-in-Chief: Steve Dube and Lindsay Reckson
Copy Editor: Steve Dube
Submissions Editor: Lindsay Reckson
Managing Editor, Treasurer: Katie Domaingue
Events Coordinator: Rebecca Linn
Publication Staff: Alex Engel, Jonathan Fedors, Alix Fellman, Sophie Goldstein, Rebecca Montross, Meghan Redding, Brad Reina, Jessica Walsh, Sally Whiting