Letter from the Editor
Welcome home to the first issue of String Poet.
We thank the many who submitted their work. There were strong entries from around the world, from such locations as Israel and Wales to various regions in the United States. We had over one hundred entries in the first annual String Poet Prize. After a preliminary round of judging, we sent the finalists into the capable hands of Finalist Judge, former New Hampshire Poet Laureate, Patricia Fargnoli.
This inaugural issue reflects String Poet’s mission to be home to musical poetry, excellent formal and free verse, and publish both with equal enthusiasm, basing our decisions solely on the merit of the work. The theme of this issue is: “The Seasons.” Just as a motley clothesline in New York is an image of summer, the poems in this issue vary in color and shape, but all evoke the seasons of our lives and bring new insights to the classic treatment of Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring.
This issue’s Featured Artist is photographer Belenna Mesa Lauto. Her work was the perfect fit for our inaugural issue as it treats the subject of Clotheslines, a kind of “string poetry” in its own right. These “strings,” lifted above the ground, hold the weight of intimacy, display various types of second skins. There is an inherent poetic collection within the image of a clothesline, where each article of clothing is a word, a note. Each piece of fabric is connected by clothesline, the string that suspends it in the air. The breeze stirs, and there is poetry, music.
This issue’s Featured Musician is pianist and composer Beth Anderson, who was commissioned by String Poet to compose an original piece of music to honor our First Prize poem, “Kummi Dance” by Pramila Venkateswaran. Highlights from Beth Anderson’s music are featured in a playlist that can be enjoyed in this issue. Beth Anderson premiered “Kummi Dance,” accompanied by violinist David Wong, the same evening this journal went “live” for the first time; May 27, 2011.
At the ceremony, Venkateswaran and runners-up George Northrup and Francine Sterle read their poems, along with Honorable Mention W.F. Lantry. Barbara Crooker’s Honorable Mention poem was also read, and Patricia Fargnoli gave the featured reading.
Thus, String Poet has been born. As an outgrowth of the literary journal but realized prior to its inception, there is the String Poet Studio Series, ongoing performance events in the Great Room of the Long Island Violin Shop in Huntington, NY. The Great Room is a space blending the stateliness of a baby grand piano and handmade instruments with the grace and intimacy of a literary salon. This summer we will host such poets as Charles Adès Fishman, Sandy McIntosh and Rhina P. Espaillat, such musicians as pianist Cathy Callis, electric violinist David Wong, and lutenist Christopher Morrongiello. The Studio Series is a wonderful outgrowth of String Poet, a chance to bear witness to the living arts. It was an honor to have the series featured in the New York Times within the first few months of its inception.
I hope you enjoy the beautiful work in this issue. I hope you will feel at home here, and visit often. String Poet is a place where the poet, the musician, and the artist may simultaneously be the other two. To echo the sentiments of Goethe: “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
Peace and Gratitude,
Founder and Editor, String Poet