The Poetry Issue: Letter from the Editor

by Laura Cogan

ZYZZYVA No. 123, Spring 2022, The Poetry Issue

Dear Reader, One of the messages we’re most relentlessly bombarded with is the importance of happiness. In so many ways, pop culture cynically suggests that happiness could make us successful, on our own terms. Happiness, it seems, is its own kind of currency. And lack of it becomes yet another reason to punish ourselves. It seems especially cruel that happiness is often elevated as a kind of measure of success that can, theoretically, be achieved, witnessed, and celebrated outside the paradigm of capitalism—as though it’s available to any of us if we only choose it. We absorb the truism that […]

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Letter From The Editor


“Literature is the question minus the answer.” —Roland Barthes “To learn which questions are unanswerable and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.” —Ursula K. LeGuin, from The Left Hand of Darkness Dear Reader, Perhaps you, like me, find yourself asking a lot from literature these days: greater solace, finer insight, deeper resonance. For me that’s led to thinking more pointedly about such expectations, and I’ve found it is useful to ask not only what literature can do to respond to current events, but also how; not just what meaning literature can […]

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