A Letter from Perihelion's Editor

It is difficult to know how to include, and yet not acquiesce to, the changes brought about by the September 11 tragedies.

This new issue of Perihelion was close to being complete when the World Trade Centers went up in flames. We were in the middle of an editorial transition—I was phasing out as Editor-in Chief, Joan Houlihan was phasing in. We were working together, trying to get the issue out before my scheduled trip to New York City, on September 11. I was looking forward to the trip, and to seeing my daughter for the first time in several months.

I was on a 6 a.m. flight to JFK Airport via San Francisco that morning; when we landed we were told that all US flights were grounded, nothing more. We stepped into the terminal and there on the TV monitor was the first Tower, burning.

My first thought was for my daughter, who works in Manhattan. I phoned right away and discovered that she was safe. By that time the second Tower had been hit and all of us—passengers, maintenance crew, concessionaires—were glued to the TV. All of us wondered: Is this World War III?

In the weeks that followed, Joan and I tried to stay on track. We worked together to ease the transition. Like everyone, we were taken aback, derailed; we had the wind knocked out of us—for a while. Then we regrouped.

We focused on the fine writers and even finer writing made available for the first time to Perihelion and to you, our readers. We rejoiced in their efforts: Rachel Dilworth’s unflinching look at Ireland's Magdalen Laundries, poetry by Walt McDonald, the Poet Laureate of Texas, and work by Julia Connor, Kathleen Lynch, David Humphreys and Ruth Daigon.

It is our hope that you will rejoice in their efforts too. In the words of Julia Connor’s fine poem in the rescue of ignorance (which she wrote, and we added to the issue, after September 11):

    we are late
    the transparency we must each become waits desperate in the rubble.

We are proud to publish the poets you see on these pages and we plan to continue bringing an assortment of culturally and regionally diverse voices to Perihelion.


Susan Kelly-DeWitt