2! Welcome to Cagibi’s Issue 2. Let this letter be your guide, or skip to the table of contents below. We are thrilled to have you with us. 2 is the loneliest number since the number 1, sang Three Dog Night in 1969. The story goes that the song, One, was written by Harry Nilsson when he tried calling someone but got a busy signal. Was it someone he loved? He hung on the line, and wrote One to the busy signal. Let’s pick up the line. Let’s hear each other.
Night and day, the bicycle, yin and yang. You’re even if you’re divisible by it. Yes, in mathematics, it is even; however, it’s the oddest prime. In physics, it’s the first magic number. How much magic will you find in this issue?
Its Roman number is II, which is a tally mark of things, but this is also two I’s. In other words, two I–ndividuals, which is us, the two editors. As so many wiser people than us have said in so many ways, two is one plus one and more. That more is here for you, tabulated below in our table of contents.
In a cagibi, things are often not organized, and among a cagibi’s tally of things, you may have a rarely used tool, kept solely in case of an emergency. That tool may stand next to a file cabinet stuffed with important papers, including the paper you actually happen to need or want right then at that moment as you open, perhaps by chance, a folder. In a cagibi you may store keepsakes, like old love letters, tchotchkes, souvenirs from abroad, maps of foreign cities. It may be that as you are looking for item x, you come across item y, even though you had no memory that item y was still present in your life! You grab item y in your hands, and suddenly you find yourself flooded with memories of that other place, that other time.
Maps of foreign cities came to mind for us, again and again. Old maps from a cagibi have the unique power of leading us, meaningfully, back into our past by way, specifically, of place. All of us are affected by the places we become familiar with, whether we travel to them, live in them, or read about them. Like a map, these breadcrumbs of experience lead us to one another, closer to understanding one another. After all, what is a map but that which you approach with an inquiry? In this issue, maps appear again and again, and we invite you to discover them and see where they lead you. A 1917 map of trench war in Flanders, Belgium, was one of many sources of inspiration that led poet Elizabeth T. Gray to her astonishing work in poetry that interweaves memory, texts, history, and place.
In the spirit of inquiry, have you noticed that the shape of 2 is similar to the shape of a question mark? Who was Antonia Pozzi? Translator and poet Amy Newman leads us to experience this Italian poet who remained unpublished when she took her own life in 1938. From the far-flung Faroe Islands: who speaks Faroese? Less than 70,000 people, among them the contemporary Faroese poet Jóanes Nielsen, whose poetry appears in its original language, and in translation by Matthew Landrum, accompanied by the haunting, inspired artwork of John Donnelly. Deeply moved by the Faroe Islands, by the place experience and the memories of his extended stay, Donnelly writes that his paintings “document the memory of travel, or the imagining of a new destination on the line that divides the heavens and earth seemingly within our grasp yet unreachable.”
An age-old story goes that the question mark’s shape was inspired by the shape of an inquisitive cat’s tail. From Australia, “Friends of Mr Mu,” a moving account of the loss of an animal companion (a friend) maps for us the owner’s grief, and asks the universal question familiar to all of us of why—why, why, why must love be so braided with loss?
Poem excerpts from Karen Hildebrand’s forthcoming book, Crossing Pleasure Avenue, remind us, that just as we take our pleasure as we can, we take our loss when we must. Why do turtles lay their eggs in the sand? Watch, the poem tells us,
the female turtles and their newborn
young take their marks along
Pleasure Avenue, the ocean side,
as the hot pavement sweats,
and once again risk everything.
You will be transported in these ways, again and again. Take in the rugged landscapes, breathe in the post-hurricane air, taste the salt, listen to all the different voices, fictional and otherwise, as they carry you to Brazil, Poland, Russia, Alaska, Nevada, Belgium, Italy, the Norwegian Sea, Sweden, Australia, Florida, Morocco or the Philippines. Let the rapping of Bach guide you to Novaya Derevnia, a Soviet era ‘new village’ transformed into an oasis in Shura Chernozatonskaya’s short film, “Get Away.”
We may wander for distraction, as Hilaire Belloc wrote, but we travel for fulfillment. Wander through this issue, and find what fulfills you.
From the 2 of us, happy reading.
PS: We are 2, but growing—already! We are pleased to welcome to Cagibi Stefan Hengst as artwork contributor for issue 2 and beyond, as well as Assistant Editor Amy Dupcak, who is already hard at work on Issue 3, coming up July 15.
- A Bit of Her Baraka: Interview with Translator Rachael Small - by Cagibi
- Who is Antonia Pozzi? Translation and Introduction by Amy Newman - Shame // Sickbed Thoughts // Shipwrecks // Fallow Deer
- On Writing: Big D.A.T.A. Techniques for Creating Characters on the Page - by Joseph Salvatore
- Crossing Pleasure Avenue (book excerpt) - by Karen Hildebrand, from her forthcoming poetry collection, Crossing Pleasure Avenue
- Visual Art: Get Away (video) - by Shura Chernozatonskaya
- Music for the People in the Shadows - by Beatriz L. Seelaender
- Turning Up Shadows - by Jem Patrick Moore
- Salt - by Joseph LoGuidice
- Little Parrots - by Kevin Richard Kaiser
- A Test I Knew I Could Pass - by Kim Magowan and Michelle Ross
- Rooftop - by Nick Anstett
- Up the Road With a Hen in the Basket - by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya
- I Want to Believe - by Cyndy Cendagorta
- It Is the Breath That Spins the Living - by Edytta A. Wojnar
- Seventeen Reasons I Slept in a Bathtub on a Thursday Night - by Emma A. Hill
- Friends of Mr Mu - by Philip Keenan
- On Memory With No Devices - by Mary Margaret Alvarado
- Map - by Cathleen Cohen
- Four Poems by Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr. - The Missing of the Great War // But You Knew This // Inverted Maps // The Relief
- In Translation: Three Poems by Jóanes Nielsen, trans. Matthew Landrum - J.H.O. Djurhuus | Empty Stairs // Tóm Trappa | Sixteen Years // Sekstan Ár
- Three Poems by Joseph O. Legaspi - aurora // Two Figures on a Boat // Unpunctuated Sonnet
- The Bees - by Kenneth J. Pruitt
- White Knuckles and Broken Cars - by Lexi Vranick
- Siren Song - by M.J. Tenerelli
- Three Poems by Michael Poage - The Colosseum, Rome // Mass, San Carlo Church, Florence // Italy
- Hurricane Season - by Michelle Lizet Flores
- the accidental portrait - by Rachel Nicholls
Another Way Through the Cagibi
Not sure where to begin reading this issue? Here’s another way through the cagibi. Skip around, find your own reading path. Discover a work of prose or poetry you’d like to sink down into.
Our Next Issue
Cagibi Issue 3 arrives July 15, with a section themed Recovery. Cagibi publishes four digital issues a year. Submissions are open, and editors are reading.
This October, join a small group of writers for a long weekend of dedicated writing time and workshops under the spell of Hudson Valley’s spectacular autumn. Click here to learn more and register.