Editorial – Autumn 2019

And once again we turn the corner into autumn – my favorite season, and therefore the season in which I decided to launch this magazine.

Five years ago.

Which hardly seems believable. I keep looking at the website and counting, and looking at the calendar, and yes, in a flash, five years.

I’ve previously mentioned some of the backstory to Liminality – wanting this to be in the world and realizing that I could actually just do that. There’s another piece, though.

In 2013, someone dismissively told me that there was no good speculative poetry. Sure, mine maybe, a few others, but all the rest wasn’t worth reading.

Well. I am a contrary sort. So check it out: five years’ worth of fantastic speculative poetry. I knew the good stuff was out there, mind you. I always did. But I was delightedly surprised by just how much. These poets have rocked my world; they’ve made me gasp, or laugh, or get goosebumps, or find myself contentedly smiling. We’ve had poets who stun me with their command when they’re still in high school, and we’ve had SFPA grandmasters. Sometimes the poems are haunting; sometimes they’re horny! But they’re all remarkable explorations through a speculative lens held by a unique poet who sees the world the way no one else could.

When we started the magazine, we began as we meant to go on: half of issue 1 is comprised of diverse poets that we specifically asked to contribute. You can say all you want that you want diversity, but if it’s not reflected in the poetry you choose and publish, that statement means nothing.

It means something to us.

No issue of Liminality has been all-white. No issue has been all able-bodied. No issue has been all-cis or all-straight – almost everyone here’s queer, actually! And unsurprisingly, given our dedication to the liminal, trans and nonbinary poets have always felt at home here. Despite Mattie and I being based in England and America, respectively, no issue of Liminality has ever been all-British-or-American. We’ve had work from all over the world, and I love it.

I have discovered so much of the world of poetry through our poets, and I am incredibly grateful for that. Thank you, poets, for sending us some deeply personal and cathartic work; I’m honored every time.

Altogether, over the past five years, we have published 252 of the best damn speculative poems I have ever seen.

Two hundred and fifty-two.

Damn straight there’s a lot of amazing speculative poetry out there.

Want to make it 272? Me too. ☺

As I was starting to assemble this issue, I found a thread, a narrative throughline that resonated with my favorite line of our submissions guidelines: Give us new myths.

So that’s what I’m doing here.

The beginning of Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey fits here (and is highly recommended):

Tell me about a complicated man.
Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost
when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy,
and where he went, and who he met, the pain
he suffered in the storms at sea, and how
he worked to save his life and bring his men
back home. He failed to keep them safe; poor fools,
they ate the Sun God’s cattle, and the god
kept them from home. Now goddess, child of Zeus,
tell the old story for our modern times.
Find the beginning.

So there we’ll begin, and continue through the ocean, the underworld, and more, rising through the ages until we find ourselves in flight – and ultimately truly in the spaces between.

Our cover art is “The Aftermath” by Caitlyn Kurilich; it’s the third piece of custom work she’s done for us, and we’re honored every time. Check out her site for prints of her beautiful work!

And, of course, much love and countless thanks to Mattie Joiner, Editrix Emeritus, without whom I’d’ve been to shy to declare that I was starting a magazine, dammit. Our teamwork defined those first years, and it’s why we get so much remarkable work from so many poets – oh, they think. This is a Liminality poem. Thank you for that and everything else.

Thank you to all of the poets! Such brilliant gems you’ve sent us. Our inbox glitters, I’m telling you. (And we’re a bit of a dragon with a bit of a hoard – too many poems we just had to have means we have a little backlog, so we’re skipping our winter reading period in order to focus on the tremendous work we already have in hand. Send us your best in January!)

And thank you, dear reader, for reading Liminality. It means so much that so many have found what they’re seeking in pages I helped bring into the world. And I would, of course, be remiss in my duties if I didn’t remind you that you can subscribe to or sponsor Liminality! If you want more of this magic, help me pay these phenomenal poets. ☺

In case you didn’t know, we’re on Twitter @LiminalityMag; come say hi! Tell us what you’ve liked, and what you’d love to see. Because I might just do this for another five years.

Your faithful editrix,

who still can’t believe that it’s been five whole years
thank you for letting them tell you a story