Editors' Note: Issue 10
Updated: Sep 22, 2021
Ashely: One of the greatest things about creative nonfiction is the genre's ability to elevate the normal-day observations to something grander. A family's trip to the airport or attempts to ward off mosquitoes becomes a reflection on family and living in diaspora ("Two Flash Essays", Ranaraja). The care and elimination of ants in a neighborhood forces us to question our capacity for compassion ("Ants", Nunez). A fire lookout job transforms into a rumination on culture, place, history, and power ("Tower Point Lookout", Yohe). In a media landscape dominated by clickbait and spectacle, I am grateful for the authors in this issue for giving us all a space to sit and think and grapple with ideas.
Also...bugs? There were a lot of insects in these submissions.
Furthermore, I want to thank all of you who have read, submitted, and otherwise cheered for this weird little journal. Getting to our 10th issue is a privilege many lit journals don't get to have, and we are forever thankful for that.
Jacqueline: Poetry is exhausting. I say that as someone who couldn't live without it. It's a laborious task in a medium where poets spill their most intimate selves in exchange for a scarceness of praise or recognition. To be vulnerable in the face of just so many words creates schisms in communities just as easily as it creates communities themselves. As we grow accustomed to whatever level of destabilization comes from outside, or from within, fault lines are drawn at so simple a question as "why does any of this matter?"
And while I'm not here to relitigate whether a poem is a revolutionary act, or what a poem should be, the poems in Issue 10 reminded me of what a poem can do. It can ask the questions we feel when we're lonely, or measure the distance it would take for us to touch. It can be the knowing nod between two people who might otherwise be alone in a room. It can reacquaint us with the ugly spectacle of our bodies and remind us why those bodies deserve care or attention. It can feed us, drip down our chins, nourish us like fledgling birds of prey. To confine ourselves to what poetry should be is so limiting because at its most electric, poetry is active. Poetry does.
I'm so grateful to the poets of Issue 10 for their reminder of the things that poems can do. I'm grateful to our readers for allowing us to reach our tenth issue. I hope you enjoy what we've made for you.
Ethan: I'd be hard-pressed to imagine better stories for our 10th issue than Sarah Brokamp's "Biology" and Jack Young's "You Stare like an Oyster from the Shell of Things." While we have an uncharacteristic lack of flash this time around, these pieces represent everything I'd hoped Lammergeier would become when we started the magazine almost three years ago.
Brokamp's story takes grisly images of split chins, mutilated earthworms, and adolescent cruelty and uses the bloody viscera to augur questions of body image, self love and hatred, and of course, biology. The sentences here will leave you writhing, but the hardest thing to stomach of all is the empathy with which these characters are written.
Young's piece is in many ways the quintessential Lammergeier story: it lurks in the borderlands between prose and poetry, realism and fantasy, and it focuses on a place and person that also exist at a crossroads. Yet as far as it goes into the unreal, the story's magic comes from how much it has to say about our world, from memory and desire to queer identity and gentrification. Venture into the depths with care.
I'll never get over the amazing work writers trust us with, both fiction and otherwise. It's been one hell of a ride, and knowing that I can always count on Ashely and Jacque for help or advice means that I don't even to do this alone. Here's hoping Lammergeier has 10 more issues ahead — and then some.