In Southwest Michigan, where The Smoking Poet is based, we are in the midst of a heat wave. Triple digits. Gasp! But far, far up north, in
that gorgeous wild of Alaska, cool things are happening.
It’s been a long time since I was in Alaska
myself, but the vivid beauty of the tundra, the Brooks Range, the fields of crystalline snow, and a proliferation of wildlife
stays with me still. I’ve long wondered how living in such wild beauty might inspire one’s creativity. For me,
it was a time that I had my first taste of newspaper writing in a small town a boat ride north of Juneau.
Wonder no more. One of my favorite poets, in fact,
lives in Fairbanks—Derick Burleson. Derick has been a feature poet in TSP in an earlier issue, but now he returns with a bevy of his creative writing students
from the University of Alaska. My introduction to Derick was by reading his poetry collection Never Night, published by Michigan publisher Marick Press in 2008. Stunning work. And apparently it rubs off,
because in a collection of works by his students in this issue, it’s all stunning. Dip your reading pleasure into these cool waters and be refreshed.
Also in our summer issue, you will see the photography
of Eleanor Bennett. Eleanor is all of 16 years old. With such a well developed eye for memorable imagery and composition, I’m keeping
my eye on this new talent.
We offer you pages of fiction, nonfiction and poetry as always, but be assured, there is word art here such as you have never seen before. Kalamazoo and Beyond brings local talent to our Michigan readers with Hedy Habra, and our book reviews, updated throughout the coming season,
may inspire you to pick up a book you might otherwise have missed—and shouldn’t.
I’m feeling cooler already.
With a good word,
Founder and Editor-in-Chief