Stone Telling

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The Body, an unfolding

by Rose Lemberg and Shweta Narayan

The Beauty of Old Age by Vinoth Chandar.

Speaking about the body is a radical act. The body – with its ills, idiosyncrasies and secrets, its daring, its slow or rapid disintegration; the body that is beauty of old age and the pain in bones; the labored, uncertain gasping for air that supercedes all other desires. The body and the passions of it; the shame that is societally circumscribed and weighs us down like chains; the mind, which is a part of the body, in all its brilliance and defeat. Stone Telling poets have long been in dialogue with the body. The body dancing and at rest, the body wounded and healing, the body clothed in words or stripped bare. The body fat, thin, unapologetic, apologetic, too angry to be shy, not angry enough, the body that crosses boundaries, the body that says "I am here, see me, see me," the body that whispers, "move on, there is nothing to see".

The body is not always the same, the body varies in brightness, its true brightness may be ascertained from the rhythm of its pulsing, the body is more remote than we imagined, it eats, it walks, it traverses with terrible slowness the distance between Wisconsin and Massachusetts, the body is stubborn, snowbound, the body has disappeared, the body has left the country, the body has traveled to Europe and will not say if it went there alone…

We wanted a whole issue dedicated to Body, because we felt there wasn't enough, because we felt that there could never be enough; because we wanted to gather in one place the bounty our poets sent us – of this theme, which is important to us as people who are chronically ill, non-canonically shaped, queer, struggling with the body's liminalities. It was an ambitious undertaking in a year already very difficult for both of us. Putting together this issue has been a tremendous blessing, but also emotionally fraught. We are late – but here it is, a double issue of poetry angry, joyous, heartbreaking, triumphant; poetry that does not pull its punches, poetry that is compassionate and embracing.

For many months now, we've been looking forward to sharing these poems with you; and now we can. As always, we are grateful for the work of our poets, and the support we received from the community; we hope you find this issue important as well.

Editorial notes: Our next issue, Stone Telling 11, will be open only to poets whom we have never before published (this includes poets who have submitted to us previously). Please send your work to us between January 15–March 15, 2014. The twelfth issue of the magazine will be themed Hope. The Hope issue will be open to all poets. We will be reading your submissions between June 15th–August 15th.