Saturday, January 22, 2011

You CAN Take it With You

I'm fond of a few literary journals that I keep around the apartment for whenever I have the inclination to pick one up and read. An Atlanta Review from 2006 begins with three pieces by writer Margaret Holley. This past summer, as we prepared my mother's house to be sold after she'd lived there for thirty years, I happened to read Holley's poem, entitled "Moving Out." Considering the circumstances of that time--walkthroughs by the building inspector, an estate sale, Mom's things packed in boxes--reading the poem was, indeed, timely.

Though physically and emotionally trying for Mom, my sister and me (It had been our home, too, where our late father's handiwork is visible in every room), the move and Holley's poem inspired a readers' poll here at Blast Furnace for the Spring issue: the question being "What theme would you like to see in the next edition?" Half of those who voted chose moving out.

While submitters may send work for consideration that is quite literally about moving out of a home, apartment, office, etc., we also like thinkers outside of that box, and welcome variations on the moving out theme: A worker moving out of a job. A convoy moving out of a truck stop. Troops moving out of a jungle or desert. Nomads moving out of a land. Depending on individual circumstances, moving out could have completely different context from one person to the next.

Perhaps the theme's common thread is, though we can't take all of the tangible things with us, we do keep the important stuff: vivid images alive in vibrant thoughts and hearts.

As writers, we preserve it for posterity when we put it on paper, type it on a computer, submit it, maybe for the glory of seeing it in print, but I believe it goes deeper than that. We desire validation, and more importantly, connection (often across generations), the way my dad did when he created his masterpiece inside and around the three-bedroom brick dwelling on East Oliver Street.

- R. Clever, Editor/Publisher

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Inaugural 'Blue Collar' Theme Strikes a Chord

It's a thrill to begin 2011 by presenting to the world the blue collar-themed, inaugural edition of Blast Furnace!

Since August, the journal received several hundred poems, including audio recordings, not only from the Pittsburgh area and other regions of Pennsylvania, but also other cities, States, and even other countries. I'm humbled to write that we also had the privilege of reviewing pieces from China, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Scotland, and Spain.

What a warm welcome from the literary community! For everyone who took an interest in the journal, submitted, or simply expressed your best wishes for the success of this young publication, my genuine gratitude.

Honored, I present to you Volume 1, Issue 1 of Blast Furnace.

- R. Clever, Editor/Publisher