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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Nonfiction: 1200 words
By Clare MacQueen, Publisher

Introduction: MacQ-1


Welcome to the debut issue of MacQueen’s Quinterly! Also known as MacQ, sister journal to KYSO Flash. If I say so myself, this debut is a doozy—as in, the cat’s meow and the bee’s knees, as in super-duper and splendiferous. Of course, I could be a tad biased (wink wink).

As with her big sis, KYSO Flash, MacQ is dedicated to showcasing a diversity of creative and eclectic voices. Here, you’ll find works by writers and artists from several countries, such as Australia, Canada, England, Greece, Ireland, and the United States; folks who are creating in more than a dozen genres and forms, and who address themes ranging from heartbreaking to humorous, from the climate crisis, political corruption, and bereavement...to Dear Abby, a botanist’s morning wood, and dating a Dutch wife, to mention only half a dozen.

And for me, a few works are both humorous and sad. One example: Another Bad Year for Florida Man by Gary Glauber.

“New” Contributors

Of the 54 authors and artists who contributed works to MacQ-1, ten are “new.” In other words, 44 of our contributors have published works in previous issues of KYSO Flash.

This group of ten includes emerging artists as well as widely published masters. Welcome aboard to Matt Bialer, Steve Cushman, Olivia Dalessandro, Steve Goldman, Mary Grimm, Peter Johnson, Teo Kefalopoulos, Dotty LeMieux, Brett Stout, and Lew Watts.

It’s a pleasure to be first publisher of work by emerging writer Olivia Dalessandro. She’s studying Creative Writing and Theatre at Kean University in New Jersey, and my thanks to her professor Bill Mesce for recommending her story to me: On the Beach With Linda

Be sure to check out this ekphrastic prose poem by Dotty LeMieux, Holding Pattern, whose final phrase I keep rollin’ off my tongue, it’s that delicious. I was also taken with a couple of her poems found elsewhere online, so I included links to those, too, in the section below her bio.

The same is true for a good number of other contributors. I included handy-dandy resource links for folks who enjoy, as I do, reading and learning more...

And a new experience for me: Matt Bialer’s epic poetry. Photographer, water-color artist, and poet, Bialer is the author of more than 20 books. It’s an honor to present one of his longish poems here, Island, from his full-length collection, Always Say Goodnight: Elegies for Lenora (forthcoming in March from KYSO Flash Press).

Pushcart Prize-winning poet Matthew Rohrer has this to say about Bialer’s Goodnight: “Here is his trademark voice, which is searching, headlong, incantatory. Here is his artist’s eye for the power that lies in the mundane...”

“Hairballs to Haiga”—A New Hybrid!

As some of you may know from reading KYSO Flash, I have a particular fondness for hybrid forms. So much the better when they include ekphrasis, that is, when the works are inspired by artworks, whether visual, aural, plastic (i.e., sculpture and other three-dimensional works), or even olfactory (an iconic perfume, for instance).

And/or, when the hybrid form combines literature and visual art to create a single, new artwork. This category includes haiga, taiga, and photo-poems, among others.

Imagine my excitement, then, when I ran across a new-to-me form on Facebook, several unusual haiga that melded haiku with colorful objets d’art made from wool and felt. Some of which, to my surprise, turned out to be hair gathered from companion animals, like cats—and no, Mr. Wiseguy (you know who you are, tee hee!), not hairballs the kitties had coughed up, but loose hair collected over time and then processed into wool and felt by hand.

After contacting the artist, one thing led serendipitously to another, and I’m now elated to present to you Four Felting Haiga, aka Haikufeltings by Stella Pierides. (Haikufeltings is the term she coined.)

Plus, the fascinating craft essay she wrote especially for MacQ-1: Felting Haiga [or, Hairballs to Haiga: The Evolution of a New Hybrid Form, “Haikufelting”]

A Few More Highlights

Five ekphrastic poems and the paintings that inspired them, by Featured Artists Robert L. Dean, Jr. and Steven Schroeder. Be sure to see Dancing in the Eye, Dean’s marvelous take on raging against the dying of the light.

A quartet of interrelated climate-crisis works by a trio of “Green Geezers” based in Eugene, Oregon: Sleepless in Fact by Jack Cooper, Letter to the Editor re Electric Cars by Steve Goldman, and Two Paintings (from the “Car Crazy” series) by MaRco Elliott

A timely lament by Rick Mulkey: Where Are You, Walt Whitman?

Lynn Pattison’s quartet of prose poems from her “Lora” sequence in progress, beginning with “Lora has been hidden in the tree trunk”

Ex-Nihil?: an ekphrastic poem by Gary S. Rosin inspired by the snapshot by Teo Kefalopoulos of his own photograph, Lost in Nothingness

Editor’s Choice Award

A week before the launch deadline of MacQueen’s Quinterly, I began compiling a pool of ten favorites from among the total of 116 works on tap for MacQ-1. A tricky task, since subsequent re-readings and viewings illuminated each work’s facets more clearly, and I could not help but appreciate all of the pieces even more. The process brought both joy and a certain degree of pain. After all, there are dozens of wonderful works here. How could I possibly limit myself to ten favorites, much less select only one for the award?

The choice finally crystallized two days before launch. And not one, but two titles! I kept returning to this poem and this painting—both of which resonate exquisitely for me—and I’m happy to give each of these two works an Editor’s Choice Award for MacQ-1:

Waking Alone After Drinking Too Much Wine in Umbria [poem after Li Po] by Rick Mulkey

Reclining Nude on Sofa: Tribute to Amedeo Modigliani [mixed-media, life-size figurative painting] by J.R. Lancaster

And here are my Finalist Faves, unranked but listed in alpha order by author’s last name:

On the Beach With Linda [flash fiction] by Olivia Dalessandro

Hormonal [micro-fiction] by Kika Dorsey

Another Bad Year for Florida Man [poem] by Gary Glauber

Figment [prose poem, ekphrastic] by Lorette C. Luzajic

It’s a Hard Art, Living [lyric memoir] by Pamela Johnson Parker

The Magic Boomerang [lineated haibun] by Lew Watts

Post inferno [haibun, climate crisis] by Tony Steven Williams

Untitled (2019) [prose poem, climate crisis] by Paul-Victor Winters

Beyond this list of ten favorites, of course, I like all of the works in MacQ. You would not find them here otherwise.

Being a feral publisher—i.e., unaffiliated with a university, board of directors, and other regulatory groups, etcetera—has some drawbacks, primarily lack of funding. Even so, the best trade-off is this: the freedom to publish what I like.

Thank you!

To contributing editors Jack Cooper and Kika Dorsey: Hugs of gratitude for your contributions of fine works to this debut issue. I’m so grateful, too, for your recommendations that others send works as well.

And finally, to all of our lovely contributors and readers: A world of thanks, from the heart!

We deeply appreciate your visits here and hope you find much to enjoy at our smorgasbord...

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