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Flannery O’Connor once noted, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
Dostoyevsky went further, linking truth to love.
“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
We begin this letter with truth and love because they seem to distill the spirit in which our poets have written.
With titles like “Naked Bootleg and the American Distance” and “Being Caught in a Failing State,” this year’s poems reveal the distinct tenor of our time—sometimes apocalyptic, sometimes intimate, other times cautionary or goofy or anxious, but always compelling, always full of the love and courage and the truths of living in this moment.
This morning I forgot / to write my affirmation 15 times. /
Now I’ll never destroy white supremacy.
The girl was carved / from skyscrapers, the top /
of her head a city garden, /and the sea grew tenderly, /
the sun above, a point, /a keel burning.
How do you leave America? Pursued / in a show of strength
and conviction, blindfolded // For your own safety.
I grew up facedown / in Chicago’s spongy suburbs. /
We ate dinner every night at the Heap O’ Beef /
and bought clothes at the House of Sad Plaid.
The truth is stunning.
Your contributions and subscriptions continue to make up 75% of RHINO’s income. We thank you for making RHINO possible for the past 42 years. As our independent, all-volunteer magazine enters the new year, we need your help.
Your tax-deductible donation supports our print journal and community engagement, including our workshops, readings, events, and poetry awards. You help us create a home for poets and their work. Thank you!
Wishing you peace, poetry, and inspiration for 2018 and beyond,
the editors and fellows of RHINO
Darren Angle Virginia Bell Jan Bottiglieri Lisa Croneberg
Carol Eding Naoko Fujimoto Gail Goepfert Ralph Hamilton
Ann Hudson David Jones Mathew Kelsey Noah LeBien
Beth McDermott Kenyatta Rogers Deborah Nodler Rosen
Jacob Saenz Nicole Tryling Angela Narciso Torres