With this issue
we enter our fifth year as an online journal. I've heard it said, "90%
of success is just showing up." We've done that. I've also heard, "Even
buildings and whores become respectable if they get old enough." Five
years as a literary e-zine certainly qualifies, and I'm proud when writers
list us in their bios. Apparently we have become a respectable credit.
inception, when I wrote the short essay "On Modulation" for our guidelines,
our editorial philosophy has been to promote intellect and passion in
a comprehensible form which makes us Neo-Elizabethan as to category.
Also, although the name Melic was chosen because it means "to
be sung" in Greek, it also forms an acronym: Meaning, Economy,
Lyricism, Innovation and Clarity. Then there are
our past issues, always the best guide to editorial preferences.
Yet as I've said
many times, we will not be limited by our theories. A good poem is a
surprise that often changes one's preconceptions. Thus we regularly
take work that doesn't necessarily reflect our stated philosophy
of which there is ample example in this issue.
As our last issue
was an all women's issue, we asked some men to wait for publication
in Melic XVII. As it turns out, most of the pieces we favored
during this submission cycle were written by men, thus the men's issue.
In Melic XVIII we'll return to co-ed, complete with panty raids
and paperings. Since left to themselves neither men nor women can reproduce,
we do not foresee the birth of another gender-segregated issue in the
near future unless by in vitro methods or preferential adoption.
My wife, Kathleen,
joked about the women's issue: "What do women write about? Men." To
which our fiction editor, Val Cihylik, replied: "And what do men write
women's issues are passť in literary e-zines, I can't think of a single
men's issue I've read. Why? Because no one cares? It's un-PC? Because
men are loners, not joiners? It certainly has nothing to do with talent
or fairness, as I see no gender inequalities on the literary net.
That said, I think
this issue particularly strong from the compressed neologisms
of Harold Larrimore to the geographic incantations of Stephen Oliver,
from Kris Kahn's vulnerable imagining of a lover springing from his
navel to Joop Bersee's tribute to Andy Warhol, from the boyhood baseball
memory of David Linebarger to R.J. McCaffrey's morbid notes from a medical
examiner. As for metaphor, it's hard to beat Allen Itz's "tight cheeks
flexing against the soft cotton / like two little monkeys in a velvet
bag," which proves men also write about women, as do Jon Teets, Tony
Grist and Ryan Costello.
Roy Doughty contributes
a mystic, guilt-inducing "Admonishment Out of Nowhere" while Nigel Holt
shares his Eliot-like lyrics (which include Greek and French). Joel
Fry makes a great Zen pun with just a title and two lines while Thomas
Bates provides a lesson in humility as his speaker attempts to teach
a juvenile offender poetry. Timothy Patton writes not only about women
but the making of a family through a puzzling metaphor of pronouns and
numbers, while Pug Marr adds a lyrical elegy. A. P. Taylor unabashedly
admits the influence of Rilke in his bio and it shows in his poems.
One of the most
encouraging (or frightening) things about this issue is the craft shown
by younger writers. Thomas Bates is 21, Gabriel Dean, 22, and Ryan Costello,
23. It bodes well to see the young write so proficiently, but it also
makes an older scribbler wonder if he ever had it. Oh well.
to Sherry Saye, who acted as Assistant Editor for Poetry for this issue.
She did so well (she was pickier than I) that I asked her to edit Melic
XVIII, assisted by Thomas Bates. I hope it won't irk anyone to know
their poems may be rejected by someone who just attained drinking age
(and I don't mean Sherry). Besides, Bates has been writing for six years;
we nominated him for a Pushcart Prize last year before we even knew
My thanks also
to Val Cihylik, inveterate fiction editor, Kathleen Chaffin, most exalted
proofreader, Blake Kritzberg, webmistress emeritus, and Mark Melton,
Melic's webmaster (and the editor of 3rd
Muse). Thanks also to our Roundtable Poetry Workshop monitors
and participants, our new Interboard Poetry Competition Representative,
Jewel, and all who have supported Melic through donations.
Speaking of donations,
we could use some. If you'd like to make one, go to our homepage and
click on the PayPal feature in the lower right corner. For snail
donations, make your check out to Melic Review and mail it
c/o C.E. Chaffin,
700 E. Ocean Blvd. #2504,
Long Beach, CA 90802.
The Best of The Melic Review: Three Years Online is also available
for purchase through PayPal or by mail. The more of these we
sell (at cost, and worth the price), the sooner we can start the second
printing for those who've already ordered. In addition, I tutor an intensive
six-week poetry course online to help defray expenses. Taking advantage
of the course is a nice way to help both yourself and Melic.
Details are available at the bottom of our Roundtable Workshop guidelines.
It is now my distinct
pleasure to give you Phallic Melic for your extreme enjoyment.
Comments and criticism are always welcome, especially at our natter
discussion board (which you can reach through the Roundtable Workshop).
Contributors who include e-mail addresses in their bios may also be
mailed directly. Otherwise, you may write them c/o email@example.com
Thine in Truth
C.E. Chaffin, Editor