IthacaLit, like every artistic endeavor, is a fine blend of freedom and constraint. I'm often asked, "But what do you get out of all this work?" No answer exists that will satisfy this question with any precision because the valuation in this question is often monetary, and this is an unpaid, non-profit position, curating and promoting poetry and art. The best answer resides within Tracy K. Smith's poem "The Good Life" from her Pulitzer Prize winning collection Life on Mars:
The Good Life
When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.
Many days are spent in journeying to the well, but the art, poetry, & interviews in each new issue come together to educate, enlighten, and compel me as an editor, and, perhaps more importantly, as a reader of poetry & art. IthacaLit is the roast chicken and red wine dinner. This journal has its own presence, which exerts itself with every issue as a surprising gift that feels like a great conversation. And that is my payday. In this issue Rachel Eliza Griffiths says, It’s about the sweetness of what we learn and share, when we love and challenge each other.
The unabashed joy Wheeler Light expressed upon hearing he'd won the poetry prize is a happiness I'm privileged to share. Many of the poems in this year's submissions to the contest were powerful testaments to a diversity of experiences, some we share, while some help us grow through exposure to another's perception of this thing called life.
May 2018 provide you with moments of roast chicken and red wine, whatever that may be to you & yours.
Michele Lesko, Editor
2016 Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize winner, Lynne Burnett, has a new collection coming out in March 2018 from Finishing Line Press.
Her prize winning poem is included in this collection.
Lynne Burnett is astonishing. I cannot think of another poet who writes with more humanity...she reminds us that simply seeing the world the way it is can be a profoundly moral and life affirming act. --D.G Geis, author Fire Sale
IthacaLit ISSN: 2372-4404
In This Issue
The winner of the Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize is Wheeler Light for his poem, "My Father." The two poems noted for Honorable Mention are "After the Battles" by Heidi Seaborn, and "Oya's Crown" by Breauna Roach.
We are indebted to our Guest Judge, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, for the time and energy she gave to this year's contest.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is featured for her poetry and art in this issue. She is the author of four poetry collections: Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015); The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press, 2011); Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011), which was selected for the 2012 Inaugural Poetry Award by the Black Caucus American Library Association; Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010). Griffiths' curated and produced the Academy of American Poets series P.O.P -Poets On Poetry.
Our Poets, who are the backbone of each new issue, include: Ace Boggess, John M. Davis, Brandon Hansen, Josef Krebs, Jessica Lake Mason, Mary Meriam, KG Newman, James Nicola, Jeanne Obbard, Dan Simmons, Richard Weaver, and Anne Whitehouse share new work.
We are inspired! But we're also an independently funded literary journal. Please donate what you can afford.