Worship: issue summary
We don’t remember when we first talked about guest editing an issue of qarrtsiluni — we guess it must have been back in the spring of last year. We threw around a whole bunch of ideas before settling on Worship as the theme, and it feels like we have lived closely with it since then.
We do have a sense that everyone is involved in some act of worship, although we don’t always use that word to describe those acts. We were curious to see what people made of the theme.
We expected more people to come from a secular position than did in the end, or perhaps we are reading something spiritual into the many poems we got in praise of small things and in praise of the natural world. We did glory in nature in this issue. Many of the poems had a sense of reaching beyond nature to something more ineffable, whatever that might be.
We particularly enjoyed the many pieces of work that took something worldly and showed us something sacred about them.
The standard of submissions was overwhelming high, and the number of submissions were high as well. Right from the start we recognised how subjective a process editing is, and we also recognised that not everything that was good was going to make it into the issue (unless we wanted to take a whole year’s worth of posts).
Looking back on how we did choose the pieces in the issue, we can see that we were looking for something which brought form and spirit together. Some of the writing we received was beautifully crafted but felt in some way hollow. Some of the poems were full of heart, but clumsily executed. (There weren’t many of these, as it happens.) We were looking for writing that was both full of something and beautifully written. We think the writing and the images included in the issue do just this.
As well as the written word and the striking images, we also included one of each of another form, and we want to give them a special mention here. The first is James Brush’s video poem “While Sitting in Church.” The combination of words images and sound lifted the poem to something greater than just words on the page. The second is “The Key of Joy,” a piece of music by Caitlin M. Daphtary (music), Zackary Sholem Berger (lyrics), and Rachel Dudley (vocals) that we were very pleased to feature.
We’re really happy with the final issue. It’s also been wonderful to live with the poems these last few months, to have them breathed into life by the readings that each poet (and in one case, Dave) gave. Thank you so much.
For bios of Kaspa and Fiona, see the call for submissions.