Dear readers, poets, starlight, you,
For the most part, this will be an extended thank you.
Imaginary Homelands was the product of a lot of trust. Our guest-editor Rosebud Ben-Oni needed to trust WTR with her concept for the feature. We had to trust that Rosebud would curate a series that would fit comfortably with our aesthetic. The writers who submitted had to trust that WTR would put together a meaningful series worthy of their work. And every week, you, our audience, had to trust that we would publish an incredible poem that would challenge your idea of home.
So first, I’d like to thank Rosebud. Imaginary Homelands would definitely not be what it is without her. There were no intermediate readers, so Rosebud read every single poem (473 overall!) submitted to Imaginary Homelands. Not only did she promote Imaginary Homelands during the submission period, she made a point to promote every single poet we featured to her personal network of writers and readers. She went above and beyond for the feature, even with pressing deadlines and her wedding (!!) in the same time period, and for that, I’m so, so grateful.
I met Rosebud at the NYC Poetry Festival after she performed a few wonderful poems for Five Quarterly. A few weeks later, she emailed me asking if we’d be interested in hosting an issue on diaspora. As WTR had decided to move from print issues to online eBooks this past summer, the idea of beginning an online feature series intrigued me. And so began what was originally dubbed “WTR Online Features” and is now called “The Spotlight Series”. Creating the Spotlight Series allows us to make the work we publish all the more accessible – they will always be free to submit to and free to read. We’re currently developing five other Spotlight Series features. I’m so proud Imaginary Homelands was our first.
The poems. Oh goodness. The poems.
“I can be so deliberate as to fill spaces she has emptied with herself”
“My brother’s wife lays eggs in the comfort of my throat.”
“When I first met my hands, their small largesse they and I - we three - were amazed.”
“New York, in the movie, was always sunshine”
“We were all in yellow. Garlands of jasmine around your neck”
“Home is never a house, but a body: ribcage, a heart beating to sleep”
“One body trembling for another. Or beneath. Or against.”
“Define betrayal. Define slicing the neck. Define inquisition.”
“A prayer dissolved in water casts a spell”
“He rises, like an antler from the earth”
The poems are beautiful. They are heartbreaking. They are poignant. They are succinct. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to showcase these works. Thank you to the poets who trust us with their words. Thank you to Louie Van Patten and Cara Thayer who trusted us with their art.
Thank you to everyone who submitted to Imaginary Homelands. Thank you to everyone who shared Imaginary Homelands. Thank you to everyone who read Imaginary Homelands. Thank you for being a part of this experience – we are nothing but grateful and proud.
Until next time,