"there's no through trail" —Han-Shan, translated by Gary Snyder

Editor's Note
Spring/Summer 2019
Volume 47, Number 2

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I accepted the position of editor of Cold Mountain Review in the summer of 2018. Last fall, we put out our “Justice” issue, and, as with all our themed issues, it was guest edited. In this case, by the amazing Vivian Shipley. It was, I believe, a somewhat brilliant collection of poetry, prose, and visual art. I’m biased, of course. But biased or not, it set a remarkably high bar for the spring issue you now hold in your hands, the issue that is, effectively, my first as editor. To say I approached it with fear and trembling would be only a slight exaggeration. And this wasn’t just editorial trepidation. As Chekhov put it, the job of the artist isn’t to solve the problem, but to state the problem correctly. To state the problem correctly requires that one pay great attention to the world, and these days, that can be a difficult thing to do.

This issue pays attention to the world—the physical, the political, the spiritual—with remarkable clarity, compassion, and understanding. It states the problem correctly, and I think Chekhov would be proud. I certainly am. More than that, having read the poems, stories, and essays, having savored the visual art, I am just a bit more hopeful. The world—turns out—is full of the sort of thoughtful, kind-hearted, clear-eyed people who make up the contributors to this issue. The world—turns out—is full of people like CMR’s managing editor/resident genius Katy Abrams, who, along with the contributors, is most responsible for what follows. I debated including a line or two about a few of the works that moved me most deeply, then I realized that would entail commenting on everything herein. So I’ll let them speak for themselves, and thank you for reading, and wish you that same hopefulness that has, at least lately, carried me.


Mark Powell