“Being in a human body calls for rapture. Movement calls for community,” writes Yanara Friedland in a beautiful passage from Pilgrimage: Das Bild verwaister Welten. Friedland—who traversed the boundaries of Europe in her grandfather’s footsteps, and who chronicled the phenomenological and spiritual transformations that occurred throughout—is speaking of the inherent desires of body and soul, of the external forces that break down the confines of the physical while, simultaneously, making the physical more apparent, more alive to what it contains.
The fiction (by BJ Atwood-Fukuda, Margo Berdeshevsky, Kate Partridge, and Amanda Mitchell), lyric nonfiction (by Farnaz Fatemi, Alphonso Lingis, Yanara Friedland, M.J. Fievre, and M.J. Gette), translation and visual material of this issue’s themed portfolio—Pilgrimage, Voyage & Return—are many such containers for the inherent desires of body and soul to transcend divides, to become more alive in the process. Each piece demonstrates the wide range of approaches the theme invites.
But I also see the poems selected by Brenda Hillman for the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize as contributing to the portfolio’s conversation. For example, the winner of the Poetry Prize, Willa Carroll, writes, in “Chorus of Omissions,” of history’s homogenizing affect on our human journey out of and back into the violences of gender, race and industrialization. Meanwhile, the runners-up, Curtis Derrick and Jan Henry-Gray, write about the undertow of excess, and about the voices of others against which we position our own.
I want to congratulate Willa, Curtis and Jan-Henry, and the finalists and semi-finalists; we are honored to present your work to readers. We are also honored to have received so many wonderful poems; thank you to everyone who submitted. Lastly, thank you, Brenda Hillman, for your kindness and insight in judging this year’s Prize. We are a very lucky literary journal.