As a journal dedicated to literary works focused on “the environment” (here, interpreted as the natural world), Flyway is an unusual publication. The magazine is atypical, as well, for its inclusion of a complete chapbook of poetry (selected through a contest), Lois Marie Harrod’s “Cosmogony.” Selections from contest finalist Corrie Williamson’s chapbook are also published in this volume. An interview with fiction writer Ann Pancake, poetry from four additional poets, five essays, and three short stories round out the issue.
Bios include contributors’ notes about the genesis or execution of their pieces, and of her chapbook, Harrod writes: “Probably anything I say about my creation of Cosmogony is inaccurate. I don’t mean I am lying—or lying my way to truth. A poem is like a memory, revised as revisited, often without memory of the tweaks and turns taken.” She concludes: “Words are what I write to know the world I love.”
Harrod’s poems grapple principally with the pain of living in a world the poet wants to be able to love better than it seems to allow or warrant. “I am thinking of how pain / fills a space and then leaves it empty,” she begins in the first and title poem. Theft, terrorism, unrequited love, the small crimes of daily living, artless days, world-weariness, and any number of other ills and sins follow, from serious to barely noticeable. These poems, nonetheless, are not harsh, edgy, or excessively rough. They do, in fact, in their gentle unfolding, demonstrate a great devotion to and desire for a lovable world.
The same can be said, I think, of most of the pieces in the magazine. Michelle Eames offers a smartly composed essay about how living things, from ocean quahogs to humans, are aged—not how they age, but how their age is assessed. Julian Hoffman writes with concern and expertise about conservation issues concerning Lake Prespa near where he lives in Greece. Patricia Monaghan writes about her experience of the special and unique quality of glaciers, balancing ecological history, art history, and personal experience.
Managing editor Liz N. Clift closes her Editor’s Note asking “what will be natural in the future?” It will be natural, I am certain, to look forward to future issues of Flyway.