~Volume 6, Issue 1


It’s a new year, MHR friends, and I’m glad to welcome you back–to our new issue, and maybe to some semblance of recovery, which is this issue’s theme.

It’s no secret that 2021 has begun with alternating notes of hope and strange, unprecedented disruption. There’s been a deadly riot at the US Capitol, and the not-so-novel-anymore coronavirus continues to rage, with the US death toll now well over 400,000. In the midst of it all, however, we’ve seen a successful Presidential election and the proliferation of new vaccines to fight the pandemic. In our new issue, poets and artists have built work around such juxtapositions–the world’s difficulties, and how we strive to overcome them, to recover from what life sends our way.

Chronicling facets of her life with MS in poems like “MS Irony,” Featured Poet Sara Quayle discusses how recovery can be a silent process that remains constantly in progress, requiring a fierce and specific sort of bravery. Artist Jessica S. Frank highlights how environments like post-hurricane Louisiana rebuild themselves in her painting 10 Years After Rita. In grappling with how sometimes recovery comes too late, poet Kurt Luchs reflects on “this profligate, persistent, perversely persevering thing called life.” And in her meticulous photography, artist Ronda Miller shows that recovery can be emotional and aesthetic, mindful of the smallest but most captivating details. Sometimes, though, the small details and the big picture intertwine, especially in a time when time itself seems to blend together–for instance, when will we finally get to return to our erstwhile-normal lives? As Yuanbing Zhang writes in his translation of the poet Yuan Hongri, “[e]very day is an illusion in the bright mirror of eternity.” And so we can hold out hope that recovery from these isolated days might one day soon be in the offing.

As 2021 begins, please do all you can to stay safe, healthy, and fulfilled–and know that at MockingHeart Review, we admire your ability to keep on keepin’ on while things are tough. Happy reading, MHR friends, and thank you as ever for your excellent work in the world.

Tyler Robert Sheldon, Editor-in-Chief