Welcome to the October/November 2010 (Vol. 3, No. 5) issue of the Maynard. This issue features work by George Bishop, Jason Price Everett, Joshua Rapp Learn, Sankar Roy, Elmore Snoody, and Joel Solonche.

In his essay on the French Surrealist poets, Walter Benjamin writes that the Surrealists shunned the sclerotic ideal of freedom supported by liberal and moralizing humanists, and in its stead chose to adopt a radical poetic form of freedom. While poetry does not necessarily have to be political - in fact we believe that poetry can never be reduced to the political - what is, or what is the potential relationship between poetry and freedom?

Let us make this clear (as possible): much like Benjamin's interpretation of the Surrealist aesthetic, by freedom we do not mean an ethical or liberal stance. We mean to ask: what happens in a poem that cannot happen elsewhere? What is it that can only truly be free in the poem or in poetic form? This begs the question 'what is a poem' or 'what is poetic form' (here we agree with Ashbury's answer, among others), which leads us to another crack in the sidewalk: we find it hard to answer the question 'what is a poem' without writing a poem, yet we are still able to recognize a poem when we see one. We know to say: "This is a poem." But that is usually as far as our desciption will take us without loosing track of the original question; without moulding and deforming a poem into a definition.

I invite you to read the answers to the question "what is a poem" that are gathered here in this issuse of the Maynard.


November 2010