There’s something compelling about seeing poems in print, particularly at a time when digital publication is becoming the norm. I’ve always loved the feel of paper while reading, the smell of fresh ink; words emblazoned on pages undistracted by a screen. I set out in with this in mind in the mid-2000s, folding and photocopying Misunderstandings Magazine with Ian Williams and Vicki Sloot, a venture that gave me my first chance to vet and edit poetry for publication. I haven’t tired of it since, and in the past decade I’ve come to admire those who continue to keep small press alive.
One name that’s always stood out when it comes to mircropress is rob mclennan, the foremost publisher of all that’s small / zine-like in Canada—so when rob asked me to edit an issue of G U E S T, I jumped at the chance. I knew that I’d need to lean on members of the literary community to gather poems for the magazine, and the overriding principle of this issue of G U E S T is just that: community. I’m grateful to present fourteen writers here, all of who write poems that are close my heart, and many of who have written books that currently sit on my nightstand. These are poets I turn to when I need the emotional resonance / release that only poetry can provide, and I hope they become poets you turn to as well. They’re worth welcoming as guests into your life.
Jim Johnstone is a Toronto-based poet, editor, and critic. He’s the author of five books of poetry, including The Chemical Life (Véhicule Press, 2017) and Dog Ear (Véhicule Press, 2014). Currently, he edits the Anstruther Books imprint at Palimpsest Press where he published The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry in 2018.