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 new variants continue 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?
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. Change takes time. Time changes things.
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. Change happens whether you will it or not. 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? How does one deal with such shifts?
How do you feel about the world’s environmental issues of change, which appear to be at tipping point? What changes have come over us? Yet it’s never one thing, is it, but losses and gains. The body deteriorates, the spirit comes into abundance? And isn’t the ultimate change death? A change of world that we’ll have to die to find out. Though it may be your death you’re thinking about, 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. With poetry, we can perhaps practice the zen that Jane Hirschfield speaks of: “Zen pretty much comes down to three things – everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.” Then, for us poets, we write it down as if our souls depend on it.
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.