A Letter from Perihelion's Editor

Wanting more than a story, wanting the radiant back of the story, like an exposed head shining through
an x-ray; wanting more than an old idea reclothed, wanting instead a re-animation of the dead pieces of an idea, wanting to see it walk, talk, frighten and elate us with new insight from a hitherto inaccessible place; wanting more than plain sense, wanting a sense that makes multiple connections, lucidly, wanting the “news that stays news” and going out of our way, even out on a limb, to get it—here at Perihelion we like danger, get a bit of a thrill from the frisson of something new, either line by line or in the accumulation of all lines, often both at once.

It’s easy to become addicted to poetry like this, to its fugitive feelings and intellectual excavations:

Once I peeked through your mail slot
and caught a glimpse of your quiet individual self-formed taste,
the thousand pegs and pins. You were beautiful to me.
I must have wanted you dead to see you so.

To its emotional correspondences:

When I woke up on the floor I saw the afterimage—the light smudged around the bulb,
          the whole bed in agony.

To its poignancy and sad authority:

I found a small church all running waters
and hung it on the wall—its candlesticks
are clay and look like my fingers writing.

At Perihelion we seek thrills, not only for the immediate gratification of a brilliant moment, or for the quick lift off from a fiery mood, but also to uncover the adamantine truth such burning will leave behind. And this issue brings thrills of all kinds—not only from the poetry itself, but from the fresh jolt of its candid book reviews, its interview from a dangerous place with Bei Dao, its discussion with a poet in love with the risks of lyric, and the pleasure of hearing writers talk franky about their friendships. We like being out on a limb. Hope you do too.

Joan Houlihan