Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

A Note of Thanks

by Jack Cooper

Poems are gifts, “...a magic to be shared...”[*] as Edward Hirsch writes, a notion that came alive for me in carrying out my assignment as Guest Poetry Editor for this issue of Serving House Journal—Eileen Van Hook witnessing how hair transforms to feathers as a woman morphs into a bird; Sanjeev Sethi registering the “aloneness of thought” on his bookshelves; Michael Meyerhofer reflecting on life and death in “the blur between night and day.”

It seemed like a tall order to sift through weeks of submissions looking for works that live up to SHJ’s mission to “surprise, rivet, amuse, charm, enchant—even electrify...” but the poems, like movies of the mind, quickly ushered me outside of time and into the realm of magic.

In my judgment, there were literally dozens of poems which needed only a minor rewrite, an added stanza, a fresher vocabulary, but these were changes I do not and could not provide. I thank all of the writers for the opportunity to open their gifts. Like a pair of socks that’s too small, or a sweater that’s the wrong color, each returned poem may well find a perfect home elsewhere.

I am grateful to Founding Editor Duff Brenna for allowing me complete freedom of choice to pick the most compelling works as I saw them, and Associate Editor Clare MacQueen for her support and encouragement.

May all readers be as riveted and charmed as I was.


[* From the introduction to Poet’s Choice by Edward Hirsh (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, (2006):]

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury