Back to Issue Sixteen.




I’ve got the routine down: nervous laugh, smile, slight blush, nervous laugh, thank you.

This is how I respond when someone—a friend, a family member, a professor—mentions the journal’s development over the past year or so, how it’s (somehow) risen to popularity and recognition far beyond what I ever imagined. Indeed, (somehow) a poem published in the journal won a Pushcart Prize earlier this month. (Somehow,) with each passing month, the readership continues to climb and climb. (Somehow,) I’m voting yes and yes! and YES! despite the sharp increase in submissions and I’m strangely okay with it.

I’m okay with it because many of these submissions are from high school and college students. Many, also, are from writers I never thought would even know the journal’s name, let alone place faith and trust in it. This combination of the established and the emerging, the inability to decipher the age and stage of the writer until the headshot and bio at the bottom of the page—this is the reason I founded the journal all those years ago as an insecure high school sophomore, and it brings me great joy to witness the journal’s staff selecting these works for publication in future issues. It brings me great joy to witness the journal serving the purpose I always hoped—but never thought—it would.

But before we look to the future of the journal’s issues, and before we retire to thinking of the past, let’s look to the present. Let’s celebrate it—heaven knows the work in this brand new issue does. Randall Mann’s “Fiscal” brings the present beyond the world through its “old man in a Segway, / his bag of groceries, sensible white helmet,” the way “he’s the closest thing I have to an angel.” In Chen Chen’s “Song of the Night’s Gift,” “I forgot to fear abandonment / & abandoned myself beautifully,” while in Cate Lycurgus’ “Skyline-to-the-Sea,” “we stroke your hand all afternoon.” The twin beauty and pain, the longing of it all. The simplicity, the appreciation of life as it is—not as it could be, not as it would be. It is good.

Peter LaBerge
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
The Adroit Journal

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