Red Wolf Editions Spring 2022
Theme: A Change of World
Since 2020 the world has changed radically. Who could have imagined this, a pandemic world? Should I say, post-pandemic, going forward? To be honest I’m not so sure how that will be, but hopefully it will, as they say, morph into an endemic flu situation, where fatalities are relatively low even though the Delta variant continues to spread like wildfire. Our new issue here is not meant to be about the pandemic as such; it definitely takes it on board though, and you, like me, may wish to do so in our writing. But change is meant to be taken in a generalised, more internalised sense. But of course what is internal is reflected in the external world. One mirrors the other. Isn’t that true?
The pandemic has stopped the world in its tracks and put us all on a rocky journey of uncertainty. It changed the way we work. Work-from-home was very much an alien concept—when I worked as a contract worker my boss wanted me to come to the office everyday—even though I had other stuff on my plate. It was difficult. And now look what’s the new norm. In schools where there’re Covid cases, the students had to self-isolate and attend online classes instead. Most classes have moved online in universities. Things may change in the near future when universities decide it’s safe to return to in-person classes but there’s a lot of one-step-forward-and-two-steps backward as the highly transmissible Delta variant wreaks havoc. Borders have closed. That’s a real bummer. Not just for tourism but for workers who used to cross borders daily for work. The pandemic caused financial hardship and mental issues. The concept of social distancing has been implemented in dense cities in a way that’s unimaginable till now. Orange netting covered seats at food centres forbidding one to sit. Barriers have been set up so one has to walk a circuitous route to get into places just so that contact tracing can be enabled. Masks are mandatory and countries have gone on serial lockdowns. Oh has not the world changed? How has it changed in your part of the world?
Before things changed, before anything changes, there is a sense of a lack of change, of deadwood, and of the desire for change. Since the time for change hasn’t come, one has to wait it out. The state of waiting for change is one of apparent passivity, but it need not be. What one does to fill the time while waiting is one question. The other question is one of dissatisfaction and longing, and with that comes an internalised clock where one prepares for change. This is an intricate process, perhaps like how a spider constructs its web, or how a bee flies from flower to flower to gather pollen. It is a process of long patience and internal work coupled with actual steps of doing.
Which brings me to the next point, and that is that loss is change. Even if things are in a state of equilibrium, it cannot remain still. Things will change. The loss of things leads to change. There are many things that can change, such as your youth, your job, your partner, your health, your friends, etc. When you look back at the stages of your life, you will realize this. It’s as if the curtain falls, the stage that opens in the next scene is different, has progressed. Sometimes the scenery changes, or the people are new, or if the same, they are altered by events. The social dynamics also change with time. Do things change for the better, or for the worse? How does one deal with loss, with change? Does it lead one to cynicism, bleakness, depression? Does it lead one to a sense of stoicism, fortitude, maturity and wisdom? All these questions are concerns that your poems shall perhaps address. Poetry above all, charts these feelings with exactitude and hopefully, finesse. Aren’t we, as human beings, a hotbed of desires for one thing or another? When do desires turn to change? What are the changes in your world? How do you feel about the world’s environmental issues of change, which appear to be at tipping point? How have you changed? Are the changes minute or huge, gradual or sudden? What changes are a delight; what about those that are a pain? Yet it’s never one thing, is it, but losses and gains, they balance each other out? The body deteriorates, the spirit comes into abundance? And to put a bummer to it, isn’t the ultimate change death? A change of world that we’ll have to die to find out.
Though it may be your end, the world doesn’t end. Like a wheel, it spins, as seen in Chagall’s The Creation of Man, and a new human and other new creatures shall spring forth. Nature works in cycles, in seasons of change.
Time may be silenced but will not be stilled,
Nor we absolved by any one’s withdrawing
From all the restless ways we must be going
And all the rings in which we’re spun and swirled,
Whether around a clockface or a world.
—Adrienne Rich, “A Clock in the Square”
Finally, I’d like you to think about poetry and change. Do you, like Rich, believe that poetry, as it is imaginative, is also transformative? That it is not mere self-indulgence, a marginal activity, that its voice, alongside other human endeavors, grounds us, reminds us, prods us, that it is “not a resting on the given, but a questing toward what might otherwise be” (Rich, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics), toward change? Perhaps not ‘change’ in capital letters yet but changes within the self, toward a new reflection of self and world? A rebirth of your world begins with the self. I believe that imagination leads to a change of self and a change of world, however you interpret it. A person, after all, is a world. To quote Alan Walowitz, in his poem, “Revision”:
I assure you, from vast experience,
to change a life requires more than one’s full portion.
But to revise, to see yourself again,
that can be an everyday miracle, if only we’d try.
Some of our fathers tell us we’re not quite chosen,
but just to be certain, we had better be better
and a light unto the nations.
This is hard work, the toughest there is,
but, didn’t I hear God say, in some unrecorded verse,
Hey pal, isn’t this what you signed up for?
The world as you imagine it, day by day by day, is a powerful one, can determine your mood, stance, everything.
Read our submission guidelines here. Please check back on our site to see if your poem has been selected. We will not be sending out any rejection letters.
Submissions period: September 2021 to February 2022. Selected poems will be posted here on this site as well as on this site and compiled into a PDF release in Spring 2022.