We Were Just Getting Started…

[img_assist|nid=688|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=150|height=203]We Were Just Getting Started…

We know that people die at 55. We just think that their names will be unfamiliar. And then… Sandy Crimmins joined the Poetry Board of Philadelphia Stories before the second issue. We reached out to her after she impressed the hell out of us with “Spring,” which appeared in the premier issue. From the beginning she brought a calm and conciliatory voice to a selection board made up exclusively of other poets. Sandy did not force her opinion on anyone. She was good at explaining what she thought was good about a piece and why she would be open to selecting it for publication.

Clearly she was loved. Those writing memories online attest to the fact that there is a long line of people saying their good-byes. We speak for some of these and say that we are honored and saddened to dedicate this issue to her.

Sandy loved a lot of things, but she loved poetry perhaps most of all in the last phase of her life. She loved good poetry, and she wrote good poetry. She knew that it is pleasurable hard work to generate a poem that seems as if it flew from the pen or the fingers to paper like a gift from the gods. Seldom do readers know that they love the 27th draft.

On June 27, Sandy wrote to me with her screened selections for this issue. They didn’t all make it and Sandy would have been angry if we chose them only because she wanted them. She was too much of an artist for that. And, like the rest of us, she got frustrated with the quality of many submissions. She wrote:

“Is it possible to do a short thing in the next edition [of Philadelphia Stories], a kind of ‘what will get your poem accepted’ blurb? Something that will list the simple things, like ‘it has to conform to general grammar rules’ and, ‘know the meaning of every word you use,’ and ‘autobiography starts a poem, but does not make a poem.’ I reject poems on the basis of these kinds of mistakes. If you can get the space, I will help write it.

Thank you, Sandy. You have already helped to write it. We were just getting started.

Conrad W. Weiser,
Poetry Editor

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