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Editor's Note

C.E. Chaffin

                       Stain No. 2 by Scott Odom


"We are born with the dead." –T. S. Eliot

My, my. Come spring Melic would have made it to nine years. That’s a long time for a print journal, even longer for an e-zine. (I think we deserve to have it converted to dog years.)

If I began to thank everyone associated with our run, the host would surely have me hauled offstage. The guest editors, webmasters, web designers and assistant editors that contributed to our magazine over the years are legion. You know who you are, and I regret not taking the space to thank you individually.

But like Jim, I must thank Kathleen M. Chaffin, my editor and the love of my life. She particularly helped me with my essays, the last being the most demanding, and the longest—coming in at nearly 35,000 words. How many nights we stayed up late and debated the meaning of Eliot’s Four Quartets I can’t count. Her fine mind and patient listening always "make me want to be a better writer." (I should mention she is currently interviewed as featured poet in Gary Blankenship’s Mindfire).

Kathleen, along with Sharon Kourous, also assisted Jim and I in the selection of poems for this issue, so I must thank them both.

At the end of our run three stalwarts were left standing: Jim Zola, Valerie Cihylik and myself. Val I’ve met. I hope to meet Jim some day. Strange to partner so long with someone you’ve never even spoken to, but such is the miracle of the Net.

I don’t have the patience to read short fiction submissions, so Val was an angel to undertake that task with joy, and her work speaks for itself.

As Jim said in his note, he became webmaster and web designer by default. We repeatedly tried to recruit paid help for the job but no one seemed interested, so the burden fell to him. I can’t thank him enough for his efforts and outstanding design of this, our last issue.

What many don’t know about Melic is the work the editors put in. We are one of the few e-zines that consistently worked with authors, suggesting edits (mainly embraced, with the occasional dispute) in well over 50% of poems accepted. This commitment was never a condescension, rather a desire to help each poet do their absolute best.

In the first issue of Melic, my co-editor and I each solicited one poem from the other, since we lacked material. For symmetry’s sake, I asked Jim to do a similar exchange in this issue from among our death-themed poems. Sadly, he sent me no poems. Nevertheless he generously chose three of mine (all previously published). In this we still did not break our cardinal rule against nepotism: no first publishing of poetry by staff.

Though more academic than we usually accept, I included Can V. Yeginsu’s essay because his dissection of Keats’ "negative capability" dovetailed well with some themes in both my essay and Norm’s, "Poetry Couched in the Beyond." I think Norm’s essays can be read with profit online, but I encourage the reader to print out Can’s essay, as I had to read it several times to grok it. My essay on Eliot’s Four Quartets obviously exceeds the scope of online reading as well, and I hope the interested reader will print it out and enjoy it with a copy of Eliot’s text at hand.

Jim said he wasn’t very good at good-byes, but living in Mexico these past three years, as well as wrestling Eliot, have changed my mind about those lost to us for now, especially the dead: they are always with us. The poetry lives on in any case.


Thine in Truth and Art,

C. E. Chaffin, Editor