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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.

Gabrielle Bates

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.

Angie Macri

How do you leave America? Pursued / in a show of strength
and conviction, blindfolded // For your own safety.

Samantha Grenrock

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.

Pamela Miller

The truth is stunning.
Rick Bursky

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.

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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