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David Chester and Phillip D. Ischy

Introduction to this issue

When choosing the theme of Poetry & Politics for this issue, knowing that it would be published on the eve of a presidential election with regard to which the nation’s populace is more polarized than it’s been for nearly 150 years, we feared that the topic, in light of the state of the union, might elicit a flood of the expected—and we admit to our being less than fans of the expected. However, we found ourselves, instead, delighted to read a spate of submissions full of promise and passion and spanning a broad spectrum of topics and sentiments. An additional, gratifying surprise was the unusually high percentage of work we received from literally oceans away. From this torrent of poetry—after much discussion, debate, and a scintilla of filibustering—we eventually chose the twenty-one poems by seventeen poets that appear inside: poems depicting "politics" in forms both familiar and strange, poems we found delectably ambitious and expertly executed, poems that found us from four continents.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone who submitted their art to us for our consideration and enjoyment and offer our special thanks to our contributors, all of whom are to be admired for their talent, tact, and wisdom. We hope you find these poems as enjoyable, moving, and intelligent as we have.

David Chester is a poet, actor, and lawyer in Tallahassee, Florida, where he lives with his poet-wife, Ginny Grimsley; his four-year-old, demagogue-daughter, Eliot; his shaman-pug, Owen; and his provocateur-calicos, Abbey and Gracie. David’s poetry has appeared in The Antioch Review, The Quarterly, The Cape Rock, and elsewhere. He dedicates this issue to the memory of his bodhisattva-cat, Sappho.

Phillip D. Ischy was born in a small town in Texas. He recently received Honorable Mention for the 2004 John MacKay Shaw Academy of American Poets Prize. Phillip is currently a senior in the Creative Writing program at Florida State University where he is president of the Society of Poetic Elements and where he has edited a student chapbook under the direction of poet and professor David Kirby.

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