LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
finale letter from founder/eic
go back to imaginary homelands
GIVEN the recent events in the Middle East, my own familial ties in Jerusalem as well as my mixed Latino and Jewish heritage, and newly married to my Chinese-Canadian husband, I began to question the idea of origins as fixed and static—as if they were only something purely innate and inherited.
Origins are very much alive. Most of us want to fit in somewhere. Find a home. Sometimes we want to go back to where we once were, be it physical or temporal. Sometimes we want nothing but change. We recreate our past as a living thing. We try to forget our past, and bury it over and over. Origins are often both a resolute and reactive manifestation of personal racial, ethnic, sexual, religious (to name only a few) beliefs and ideas. And origins do not exist in a vacuum; no matter how resolute our individual beliefs, we each react to the world and sometimes, we change, both ourselves and our own point of departure.
In this case, do origins themselves not evolve? Are origins not like stelae, markers of the times from which we came, and susceptible to change? In the U.S., we are always looking back. How often do we see ruins themselves as fertile, changeable? Evergreen we are not. Hybridity has its own purity— whether, for example, through a mixed heritage or a mixed marriage, that new life becomes a point of departure
The poems that I selected for this feature are very alive. They are imaginary in the sense that they create new geographies. These are the languages of longing and provocation. They speak to homelands, however distant, however evolving. When we speak of homelands left behind or living in diasporas, our identities are the very ties to the loss of those spaces. And that loss is always there, no matter who has "the rights" to it. That's why we must listen. Homelands do not have one defining story, and what better way to understand a place than through its poets? I am honored to present this feature.