Welcome to the 5th anniversary double issue of The Melic Review.

Now for the requisite Oscar speech.

I want to thank:

Jamie Wasserman for inviting me to co-found the magazine, later bequeathing it to me with no strings attached;

The Editor’s Editor, our inveterate proofreader, Kathleen McGovern Chaffin, winner of our first and only poetry contest before she and I met, fell in love, and married (living passionately ever after as mad poets);

Val Cihylik, Fiction Editor, for her gift in discerning, within the limits of short fiction, maximum emotional impact, her insistence on high standards, and her patient encouragement of authors;

Past Guest Editors, including Sharon Kourous, Kathleen Chaffin, Kathleen Henderson, Sherry Saye, Laird Barron, and all who served as Assistant Editors in the winnowing process;

Webmasters past and present, especially our Webmistress Emeritus (who asked that her name not be mentioned); then, in order of service, Jamie Wasserman, Mark Stacks, Jim Zola and Mark Melton, our current designer;

Mark Stacks and Stacksgraph for technical support (they haven’t billed us in years) and to all who have donated money to our cause;

All Roundtable Poetry Board Monitors, past and present: I apologize for not having a record of everyone who served, but here are a few names: Teresa White, Shann Palmer, Chris O’Carroll, Laurie Byro, Maggie, Andrew Sundaresan, Christopher T. George, Jim Corner, Ken Ashworth and Julie Dammerell;

Regulars at our boards, excluding those otherwise mentioned, who have generously contributed to our ongoing discourse: John Pawlik, Russ Bowden, Michael Peverett and countless others;

Our Interboard Poetry Contest Representatives, past and present, including Gina Bryson, Ken Ashworth, Jewel and David Ayers (since we joined the IBPC it is safe to say we have distinguished ourselves as an online workshop, though T. S. Eliot opined “There is no competition”);

Lastly and most importantly, the authors who favored us by submitting, whether accepted for publication or not, and the readers who gave them a hearing.

Sniff, sniff, dab, dab—flashbulbs, applause! (Like my gown? It’s a Versace.)

(For any I forgot to credit, please e-mail me with a reminder so I can thank you personally.)


Melic News: After five years online, Jim Zola has consented to become our first official Poetry Editor. Congrats, Jim!

Val Cihylik has chosen a summer replacement as Fiction Editor, Mary McGrail, who also has a story in this issue.

We have found a new general Webmaster to revamp the site between now and Melic XXII, due out September 1 (submissions close August 10).


A word about Melic XX/XXI, “Disconnected”:

Several years ago we gave up dictating themes for our magazine, trying instead to discern a theme from each quarterly harvest. My essay on Eliot explores his disconnection from himself. As for the Cramden essays, many think Dweebler should be disconnected altogether (although he remains our most popular contributor), so we tried to balance his outrageous bloviations with the saner reflections of his older brother, Mycroft. To think of my English cousins as brothers is another disconnect for me.

This issue’s fiction explores the disconnection of widowhood, motherhood, daughterhood, adolescent coming of age, and a disconnected relationship between two men, largely and literally because of chicken shit!

Although our newly christened Poetry Editor, Jim Zola, penned a separate note about disconnection in poetry, some poems I’d like to mention (among other worthy examples) include featured poet Alfred Corn’s “Who Said That” and “Long Distance Call to a Friend Who Lived with AIDS as Long as He Could” (the latter as much a connection as a disconnection), Ruth Padel’s “Soho Leopard,” Roy C. Diebold’s “My Biology,” and S. Sucur’s “She Stalks in Manufactured Darkness.”

As for the 19 poems selected to represent “The Best of Melic Poetry” from our first 19 issues, I picked from issues I to XII and Jim Zola from XIII to XIX. Myself, I tried to choose new favorites instead of repeating past Pushcart nominees. Sharon Kourous garnered the singular honor of having two poems independently chosen by Jim and me. The one piece representing our “Light Verse” feature (“At the Workshop”) is mine, included because of its enduring popularity (we never first-publish poetry by Staff except light verse, for which, like essays, we get few submissions).

After five years, what makes it worth it? Connection: Friends I’ve made throughout the globe, artists and readers who share a passion for literature—some whom I’ve met, many I hope to meet, but who, collectively, have made me feel a global citizen, no longer a voice crying in the wilderness.

Happy 5th Birthday, Melic!

C.E. Chaffin, Editor