From the Archives / On disenfranchised grief

For this month’s “From the Archives” newsletter, I wanted to spotlight work that deals with less openly recognized forms of loss, and to consider how art might be used to combat the isolation and fracturing that can result from this lack of recognition. Reg Johanson’s “a titan bearing many a legitimate grievance” navigates the complex emotions involved in family estrangement, balancing grief, guilt, and lingering resentments to render a father-daughter relationship both poignant and decidedly unredemptive. Abigail Chabitnoy’s “Three Poems” orbit images of bones in the mud and fluid petrified in a womb, speaking into the severed connections between people and land, the continued destruction of the environment, and the sense of loss that can accompany the circumstance of not having children. Finally, in “Sonnet about Orpheus (Friend),” Stan Persky meditates on a preemptive mourning spurred by the knowledge that every friendship is imbued with the eventuality of its loss, reminding us in the process that friendships, though often trivialized, are relations of great richness and depth.

Reg Johanson / “a titan bearing many a legitimate grievance”

From Issue 3.33 (Fall 2017)

"Or—the conversation we had, that is on record, was simultaneous with another one, that is unrecorded and much, much longer. The story I wanted to tell—so that I can continue the story—the story continues, many days have passed, many more days, life has been lived, there have been developments that I would like to narrate—but just now in recounting it I can't move past this. When she wrote them it felt like the beginning, and I wanted to begin."

Abigail Chabitnoy / “Three Poems”

From Issue 3.44 (Summer 2021)

I still wake weeping after dreams 
of my grandmothers
             wonder if they would like my small dog

what they would say to the cat.

Don’t ask me how the dog knows
each time I wake regardless
of my body’s tendency to set hard when I think
no daughter of mine shall weep for me.

Stan Persky / “Sonnet about Orpheus (Friend)”

From Issue 3.17 (Spring 2012)

The law of friendship is 
one of us must die 

before the other 
Mourning begins 

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