Welcome to the new Spring/Summer issue of MockingHeart Review. Taking the helm of MHR from Clare L. Martin, the journal’s Founding Editor and an excellent poet in her own right, was a transition in the midst of an amazing journey–one that I am honored to be a part of. The goal of this now four-year-old magazine has been and is to express the complexities of the human heart in precise, clear, lyrical language, and with this new issue, that language expands to incorporate both poetry and visual art. The writers and artists who appear here exemplify that entreaty to listen when our hearts beat out their understandings of the world. As we know, the world we inhabit bridges the personal with the universal; global concerns with the ever-essential minutiae of our daily lives. For this first issue under new editorship, MockingHeart is open to every interpretation the heart poses; unlike our upcoming Fall and Winter issues, this midyear issue operates without a dedicated theme. The submitted work we received per that guideline was arresting and astounding, brave and sometimes brash, tender and tremendous. And as we all know very well, the world itself operates in this way too, heart open to the most exhilarating of possibilities.
The initial issues of MockingHeart Review have been refreshingly welcoming to discussions of world events, political concerns, and the small moments that escape widespread notice. The work in this issue follows that thematic inclusivity in what we hope is an effortless way.
Our Featured Poet, Gillian Wegener, captures the creative process in apt terms, asserting that “it takes time and attention, a persistence to write [or make art] through the hard and fallow days.” Her observant poem “How to Handle Americans” shows one perspective on not just Americans, perhaps, but also on humanity at large. She writes, “mark as fragile, / mark as dangerous. / They are most dangerous when most fragile.” This is likely true of us all, discomfiting though the notion might be. James Ehlers, this issue’s Featured Artist, takes our technological society and political climate to task powerfully in his engraving and watercolor piece “Tweet, Tweet, Boom.” In “Goldilocks,” Rebecca Hart Olander shows how we pivot through our lives’ various roles, sometimes painfully, as “dreams / hover like departing angels.” And the artist Lily offers a glimpse into a deeply complex personal universe–one that, while entirely unique, might offer a metaphor for certain facets of our larger world.
Other pieces here offer up unique forms of contemplation, many of them uplifting. Johanna Ely’s “Forecast” conveys the beauty found in nature’s unpredictability, while Cameron Morse shares an endearing family moment that holds larger meaning in “Yellow Curry.” Regardless of message, however, the poetry and art throughout these pages all shows us moments we’re the richer for experiencing.
As I write this note, political groups around the country (and the world, to some degree) are arguing the merits of funding the Arts and Humanities. While our nation’s flagships Arts organizations have continued to secure funding in recent years, disciplines like writing and art (represented well, I’ll argue, in this issue of MockingHeart Review) are often on shaky ground. As you take in the work throughout this issue, consider that your voice also makes a difference. Consider speaking out in favor of the Arts, donating to an artistic or literary cause, sharing a creative piece with friends to brighten their day, and spreading the word about this journal and others you enjoy. For MHR, heartfelt expression is considered paramount, and we hope you agree.
With MockingHeart Review in the midst of its fourth year, we’re grateful for all who read, root for, and submit to this journal. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm, without which MHR would be far less of a creative venue. And please enjoy the work throughout Volume 4, Issue 2. The journey continues here!
–Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief