It has been a great privilege to serve as Editor-in-Chief of Cagibi for all four 2023 issues. And as I reread the brilliant prose and poetry that comprises Issue 20, the last one of the year, I have to wonder, why do we dedicate so much time and effort to the art of writing? Perhaps some of us feel a gravitational pull toward the page, compelled to confess, conjure, contemplate, and recreate our memories for cathartic release, while others seek an escape from the confines of the self and this pale blue dot we all call home. Or perhaps we simply crave the order of putting one word after the next.
Whether poet, essayist, or storyteller, every writer is an explorer, reaching far beyond familiar landscapes and mining the depths of the quiet space within. We hover, unafraid, in the liminal darkness, and often alone. Writers are also observers—sometimes painfully so—watching life unfold around them as if through a telescope, lingering at the edge of existence in spite of their own humanity.
The explorer/observers of Issue 20 have made all sorts of exciting discoveries. Adrift in time, they’ve recreated the past, pinned down the elusive present, and forecasted the future—the heat death of the universe. They’ve examined alternate versions of themselves, marked (tattooed, even) by history and experience. They’ve traveled vast distances, crossing lacunas and soaring up into the sky toward the next nearest star. They’ve sat with their ghosts. Let go of their youth. Become their fathers. Grieved their mothers. Dealt with their pain. Learned to cherish the emptiness. They’ve reckoned with truth, desire, uncertainty, their bodies, and a maddening lack of paper. They have cast their voices to the furthest reaches of the cosmos, expressing what it means to be alive on this planet.
Here’s to the writers: every single one of you.
- Lacuna - by Adam Paul Davis
- Dealing With It - by Zachary Kluckman
- Two poems by grace (ge) gilbert - #5 Hark // #16 Hark
- Two Poems by Lauren McKenzie Reed - After Kilimanjaro // There are two phases to this
- Two Poems by Emily Rose Miller - I Want to Be Small // Find the Sum of Your Worth
- Two Poems by Sharon Weightman Hoffmann - Metrics // A Review
- The Kardashev Scale - by Trapper Markelz
- Elegy - by Jennifer Ruby
- Dream Job - by Nathan Blum
- The Black Star - by Cassie Burkhardt
- You May Feel a Sting - by Mark Doyle
- Between Blue Sky and Middle Finger - by Michael Garcia Bertrand
- Wrap - by Amy Dawson Robertson
- Enthralled - by Katie Mitchell
- The Next Nearest Star - by Brian Mihok
Photograph by Grete Stern: “Sueño Nº 35, Untitled, 1949”
Grete Stern (1904-1999) was a German-Argentine artist and photographer, and a major figure in the development of photographic art in twentieth-century Argentina. Born in Germany, Stern studied graphic arts in Stuttgart before turning her attention to photography and studying in Berlin under the Bauhaus professor Walter Peterhans. With German-American photographer Ellen Rosenberg Auerbach, Stern founded the acclaimed photography and design studio ringl+pit. In the 1930s, fleeing Nazi Germany, Stern emigrated first to London, then to Argentina, where she and her husband Horacio Coppola launched the country’s first modern photography exhibition and opened a studio together in Buenos Aires.
In 1948, Stern began working for Idilio, an illustrated magazine for middle-class women in Argentina. It was for Idilio that Stern’s now famous series Sueños (Dreams) was published. Stern created these photomontages as surreal illustrations of dreams submitted by the magazine’s female readers. As the Museum of Modern Art wrote in the catalogue for its 2005 exhibition of Stern’s work, Suenos “Stern’s forward-thinking Sueños (Dreams), a series of photomontages she contributed to the popular women’s magazine Idilio, portray[ed] women’s dreams mobilized by the unfulfilled promises of the Peronist regime in Argentine society with urgency and surreal wit.”
Grete Stern died in Buenos Aires in 1999 at the age of ninety-five. In 2005, she and her husband were the subject of the exhibition “From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horatio Coppola” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
ISSN 2643-3273. Copyright © Cagibi Literary LLC.
CAGIBI publishes four digital issues a year. Submissions are open, and editors are reading.