Dear Readers & Writers,
Lately at The Maine Review, it seems that we’ve been talking a lot internally (and externally) about the miraculous. Our usage of the term is predominantly tongue-in-cheek––hardly the beatific, Kinkadian triumphs that only occur in ethereal streams of light––posed in reference to minor miracles, most often wrested from minor (or major) crises.
A miracle, in its Latin origin miraculum, is an object of wonder. It is a thing that surprises, that astounds. It is the unexpected, but it can also be the expected and marvelous.
By these standards, to write something is a miracle. To publish something is a miracle. To be alive is a miracle. Under the right conditions, to have gotten up this morning and continue being alive is a miracle.
On the first floor of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a spot where I’ve been fortunate enough to conduct some research over the past few weeks, there’s a meteorite called Ahnighito. This remarkably compact, 34-ton hunk of iron barreled through the atmosphere and miraculously landed on an island in western Greenland (incidentally a longitudinal near-twin of Maine). It was then miraculously transported to New York, where it was miraculously hauled to the museum by 28 horses stretching the length of a city block. Today, you can miraculously place your hands on its surface, and touch a compositional structure naturally found nowhere on earth.
The miraculous is, in a sense, both familiar and unfamiliar. Good composition––of a poem or essay as much as a meteorite––is at once surprising and structurally sound. It is both subtle and extraordinary, a thing of wonder.
This issue is rife with small wonders. They’re to be found in Wendy Oleson’s paradigm shifts and Jalina Mhyana’s sumptuous embroidering, in the curious autonomy of Siamak Vossoughi’s filmgoers and Jason Brown’s wry candor, in Adam Tavel’s minor obsessions and Sue Silverman’s giddy aspirations. Each piece in this collection is a testament to the foundational and the strange. In a word, the miraculous.
We hope you enjoy these works, and that––like our body of writers, readers, and editors––find occasion to experience wonder.
–A. J. Bermudez, Co-Editor of The Maine Review