Poets & Writers Magazine welcomes letters from its readers. Please post a comment on select articles at www.pw.org/magazine, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Editor, Poets & Writers Magazine, 90 Broad Street, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10004. Letters accepted for publication may be edited for clarity and length.
Solidarity with Syria
As a writer of protest poems who follows current events carefully, I turned to Stephen Morison Jr.’s article “The Exiles: Report From Literary Syria” (March/April 2014) as soon as I got my issue. I was riding high after the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference in Seattle, and Morison’s story of three displaced writers reminded me how fortunate I am to live in a country where I can write and speak freely and where writers can gather to celebrate that freedom. I see images online of the conflict in Syria and read as much news about the country’s civil war as I can, but this story brought the plight of Syria’s writers clearly to the fore. Thank you for publishing such an important and well- written article.
The Word on Art & Words
I am a writer who participated in the show described in Christie Taylor’s “Art & Words Inspires Writers, Artists” (March/April 2014) in 2012 and 2013. What a blast! I loved seeing my words transformed into art, and writing a story for what the artist drew was a challenge, but a welcome change from other projects I was working on. Even though I wasn’t able to attend the show in person, I felt like I was there—organizer Bonnie Stufflebeam shared wonderful pictures from the evening. I highly recommend this experience for everyone!
Excerpted from a comment posted on pw.org by karen.bovenmyer
Why He Wrote
Richard Smolev’s “Why We Write: Life Seems Inconceivably Rich” (January/February 2014) made me weep. I wept for him and for myself in response to his beautiful words. I lost my husband of thirty-one years in 2012. Three years prior to that I had lost my right arm in a careless, preventable accident. Like Smolev, I have turned to writing as a solace, as a way to help make sense of these otherwise unexplainable losses. “Writing has been a perfect antidote to get me through this madness because it allows me to contribute something to the world rather than to begin every sentence I utter by asking for help,” Smolev wrote. Every time I ask someone to open a jar or a baggie, or to cut my food, I also loathe the burden I impose on others. I want to thank Smolev for his grace, for his courage, and for his reminder of the richness of life. Even when the worst happens there is still beauty to be found.
Smolev makes me more determined than ever to continue with my work.
Patrick E. Trujillo
North Bergen, New Jersey
Smolev wrote his story with clarity, beauty, and passion. Whether disabled or not, everyone is better off having read his words. Smolev’s writing also makes me feel that Poets & Writers Magazine needs to set aside a permanent column for writers who are disabled. We write novels and poems and short stories that are often denied by mainstream publishers. Our writing is passionately instructive, showing who we are and what we go through. We need to be included on a regular basis. Smolev’s work sets the standard.