W. S. Merwin was able to speak to many people in his poems, his translations, his memoirs, and stories. After a lifetime of reading his work—always in wonder at each new collection—my sense is that he wrote from the same deep wellspring that led him to Hawai’i and Zen practice in the mid-1970s. He looked for and lived from the open source, the endless source of contemplation, care, respect, and imagination.
This January our editors are feeling especially filled with gratitude, in the present moment as well as looking back and forward. New Pages’ recent fine review of our Fall-Winter issue and of our short publication history acknowledges the skill and accomplishment of our contributors.
Much of this interview with Paul Hostovsky covers his initial fascination with the system of Braille and his ongoing study of the code that blind readers (and Paul) read with the pads of their fingers. (In his Leaping Clear essay, “A Different Digital,” Paul reveals his secret delight in reading Braille in spite of his being sighted.) We also discuss Paul’s work as a sign language interpreter for the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since we began publishing works by artists and writers whose lives and art are informed by contemplative practice. We received hundreds of submissions for this issue and we want to thank all who contributed.
In the process of assembling all the pieces for this issue we discovered, purely by chance, that certain harmonic resonances began to arise between, say, this essay and that poem; this story and that image; this poem and that piece of music. It was as if we’d constructed a gamelan composed of poetry, prose, images, and sound. Sympathetic chords are struck on the themes of social justice, the transformative power of nature, the liberating effects of present moment awareness, and more.