Jacqueline: As eel season draws to a close, I find myself going back to basics. Like the rest of the world, I'm not exactly firing on all cylinders as I continually grapple with the enduring complexity of the trauma of the pandemic, the election (and its fallout), and just the general 2020 of it all. Because of this, there's only one metric by which I judged the pieces that appeared in this issue: if they broke through the all-encompassing nothing (or worse) of this time, if they made me feel something, then I wanted to share them with you.
While it may sound simple, I'm so grateful to the poems in this issue for doing just that: for connecting with me as a reader and making me feel something. Curation is a complex process, and there are as many approaches to it as there are editors. But at its heart, for me, art is about feeling and connection in the midst of profound loneliness, and every poem in this issue does that and so much more.
Happy holidays and restful New Year's, flock. I hope you enjoy our gift to you.
Ashely: Most people know me personally know I have a pretty jaded view of the world. That said, the cruelty of this year has knocked me damn near off my feet. I find myself resisting any notion that the world is going to return to "normal". There was never some perfect, peaceful time in the near or far future to return to, nor have we made moves to eliminate the issues that have gotten us here.
I've always wanted writing that confronts this uncomfortable reality. I never found comfort in platitudes, but in people who artfully say "this sucks". This final issue of 2020, I hope, will give you some company in this regard.
See you in 2021. Solidarity always.
Ethan: I don't think I have anything left to say about the past year; it's all just too much at this point. However, this month marks not only the end of 2020, but also the end of Lammergeier's second year of existence. And looking back at all the work that has come in, it's clear that there are so many fantastic writers out there who still have insight to offer readers. From the way Adrienne Bracken captures all the profound failures of empathy that underlay a toxic relationship to the entire years hidden in Samantha Steiner's paragraph breaks and drawings (not to mention all of our poetry, nonfiction, and hybrids), this issue alone has pushed my expectations for what writing can do. And improbably, every issue has somehow managed to do that.
I give up at this point. Not on wanting the world to be a better place, of course, but on waiting for the writing in our queue to ever peak and crash. It simply isn't happening — and not just in Lammergeier. This year's problems didn't begin in January and won't end in December, sure, but the same can also be said of all the effort artists and others are putting into understanding the world and our own humanity. Some things just go on and on and on.
Anyway, new year, new writing. Best get to it.