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WELCOME TO MELIC X, the third in the new millennial triumvirate of Faith, Hope, and Love.

This is our last theme issue for the foreseeable future. Despite assurances that “non-theme works of sufficient quality will be considered,” a preponderance of submissions received on theme seemed to indicate that writers can’t get the bug out of their head once planted.

C. S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, distinguishes between affection, eros, phileo and agape, based on the Greek terms (with one addition). Agape, or unconditional love, he thought best exemplified by the love of a parent for a child, of which we have but one example in this issue’s poems. And most of the eros (romantic love) poems are not pure but complicated by this age, with a couple of exceptions. Phileo (the love of friendship) and affection appear sporadically, as does venus, a term Lewis used to distinguish lust from romantic love, and the styles herein range from the minimalism of Martha O’Connor to the maximalism of young Adam Perry, who Narcissus-like falls in love with his own imagination in “suck to breathe.”

Love and death are the most overindulged themes in poetry, so I was not surprised so many had difficulty with writing about the former. We hope our commitment to “open” issues henceforth will loosen the floodgates a bit. Furthermore, we have made a decision to accept works previously published in print (but not online) to further enhance the quality of submissions.

After winnowing some thousand poems for Melic X the issue remained so thin that I appealed to Staff to submit previously published works, five of which are included. Ken Ashworth became a board monitor near the time I accepted his poem, so I felt free to publish it without violating our standards. I should also welcome Jim Zola as another monitor for our popular Roundtable Poetry Workshop.

Michael Peverett relieved me of my usual obligation to publish at least one critical essay per issue with his light-hearted look at contemporary poetry, and I am grateful.

Please welcome Valerie Cihylik, our new fiction editor, and read her brief self- introduction. (She failed to mention that she shares a secret love of science fiction with me). In addition, please welcome Kim Holzer Leeds as this issue’s webmistress. Blake Kritzberg, webmistress emeritus, is showing her the ropes. Afterwards we shall all hang together or else hang separately, as Ben Franklin said.

We have decided to offer the Melic Basic Poetry Course as a six-week personal tutorial with syllabus because of scheduling difficulties with larger groups. The cost is $200. Please write re: BPC for further information.

We thank the many who have contributed ten dollars for advance purchase of The Best of Melic in a bound print addition, but have not yet received enough to get the presses rolling. Donations may be sent to Melic Review, c/o C.E. Chaffin, 700 E. Ocean Blvd. #2504, Long Beach, CA, 90802. Also, the more often you click on our advertising banners, the more advertising revenue we receive. Right now the banners almost pay the server and connection bills.

In addition we owe a number of authors $5 from a past issue when it was our policy to pay contributors; I ask those who remember to grant us forgiveness or forward their snail mail addresses again for payment, as our record keeping has been less than sterling at times.

No one qualified as featured poet this issue so there are no audio files. We do hope to resurrect our “Dead White Men” feature in the future. I’m still tickled that Robert Hayden, who appeared in that feature, turned out to be a man of color as so many hastened to inform me.

Thine in Truth and Art,
C.E. Chaffin for Melic