April 30, 2012
It is my pleasure to present the spring 2012 issue of American Poet! This issue marks a special moment for the magazine, as it unveils the journal's brand new design, which we undertook over the past year. Besides giving the journal an updated look, a new, more portable size, and increased readability, we are intent on developing new ways for readers to engage with poets in conversations that go beyond the act of reading poetry.
Along those lines, this issue made room for a manuscript study of John Berryman's "33" from The Dream Songs, that shows not just one version of his draft work, but the development across different incarnations of the poem. When contemplating cover art for the issue, we thought of the poet Thomas Sayers Ellis's work in photography and realized the potential for a magazine that features poets even in its visual design. This seems well in line with the mission of not only American Poet, but of the Academy itself. It's especially perfect that Thomas himself is reflected in the cover photo—to me, it feels like an editorial statement for the magazine: the poet stays in the picture.
This issue also features a craft essay on figurative language by Sandra Beasley; a piece on feminist poet Lola Ridge, who was a champion for the working class, written by Terese Svoboda; and profiles of award-winning work by Joan Larkin, Yusef Komunyakaa, and C.D. Wright.
I hope you enjoy the new issue and our brand new look. More than that, I hope you enjoy the array of poets' voices presented in these pages. Black Mountain poet Charles Olson said that "form is never more than an extension of content." In the case of American Poet, we have to agree—our design is inspired by the ever-evolving landscape of poetry that we are lucky to represent.
Editor, American Poet
Academy of American Poets