Fall Issue 1
The Editor’s Desk: Your Space is Open
By Steven Gomez
The only thing I can think of when I hear the title ‘editor’—the only role model and example I know—is Perry White, editor-in-chief of The Daily Planet in the Superman movies and television shows. Middle-aged or slightly older, in suspenders, chomping down on half a cigar, sleeves rolled up, with a perpetual scowl on his face. “Olsen! Where are those pictures?” “Lois, that’s not how you spell ‘Mediterranean’!” “Great Caesar's ghost, where’s Kent when you need him?” “Don’t call me chief!”
Ah, but now I also remember Steven Spielberg’s The Post, the story of how a struggling newsroom published the Pentagon Papers, broke all hell loose, and began Nixon’s downfall. All very Hollywoodized, I’m sure, but the spit and vinegar of Katharine Graham is inspiring as she and her staff challenge the most powerful men in the country.
While being 33 is sometimes an existential shock, I’m nowhere close to middle age; I don’t smoke except the occasional pipe with friends; I tend to stay out of public comment on politics. All of which means that, in my head at least, I feel ridiculously unqualified to be an editor. Don’t you need more experience than this? Don’t you need a tough-as-nails attitude and a take-no-prisoners chutzpah? Reasonably, I know I’m up to the job; but in the next moment I wonder what on earth made anyone think I was ready for this.
But that’s just par for the course in my Regent experience; ever since I started, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I’m not smart enough for this place, and I’m usually proven wrong. Maybe, if you’re a new student, you feel the same way. Getting into something new probably makes most people feel unready, unqualified, not up to scratch. But really, the only thing required is the willingness to learn. The rest falls into step behind.
So with that, let me introduce myself. I’m Steven, the new editor of the Et Cetera. And the first thing this means is that this space isn’t about me. It’s about you. This is your space and I’m only granted permission to host a party in it.
You might have noticed that this issue is looking a little sparse. It’s a week to deadline and the term has yet to officially begin. Some of you haven’t even arrived for classes. That’s why it's sparse: you aren’t here yet. But you will be, and you will bring stories and opinions and theologies and ideas.
And this is the place for all of it.
I’m sure your summer was full of things to write about: the fantastic and the odd, the heartbreaking and the joyful. What was something you learned, whether in class or on some amazing trip? I know some of you are wrapping up your studies this term or next, moving on to the rest of life and what it holds. How nervous or excited or curious are you?
Write a story. Write an opinion. Write a poem. We may not be profiling superheroes or toppling governments, but what we’re doing here is just as thrilling and risky. We’re saying this is who we are and that we are here. Without you, this space has to be left blank.
You can email anything—articles, poetry, artwork (remember it will be in black-and-white), your frustration at the cryptic crossword, your Michelin rating for last week’s soup—to firstname.lastname@example.org Keep it to 800 words or less so there's room for everyone, but I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to know who you are and that you are here.
And if you happen to see Superman flying around, see if you can get an interview. We could really use the exclusive.
Just don’t call me chief.
By Jolene Nolte
One of the things I love about poetry is its ability to fit in the cracks. You can read a volume of poetry cover to cover, but you can also read a poem on the bus, right before bed, when you can’t think about your paper anymore and your eyes fall on one of the laminated poems sprinkled throughout the library—thank you, Alice Hodgkins!
I’ve come to think of poems as explorations. (An idea not at all unique to me.) As part of my studies here at Regent, I explore poetry. It’s a reciprocal business: I explore the poems, and the poems explore me. As it also can often be a solitary business, I am (selfishly) taking you along for some of my treks in hopes that whether you feel comfortable around poetry or not, you might find for yourself something of this reciprocal discovery.
This week, consider with me “Adam’s Complaint” by Denise Levertov:
no matter what you give them,
still want the moon.
white meat and dark,
The marriage bed
and the cradle,
still empty arms.
You give them land,
their own earth under their feet,
still they take to the roads.
And water: dig them the deepest well,
still it’s not enough
to drink the moon from.
(From Poems, 1968-1972)
As a testimonial of this poem’s power, I submit Leanne, a then-middle schooler I tutored years ago. She wasn’t struggling; her parents just wanted to give her extra practice for an inside edge in her English classes. Unconvinced this was a good use of her afterschool time, she scowled her way through most our sessions in that un-air-conditioned living room in suburban Orange County. I fed her poems to write on for timed essays as practice for AP English exams. I tried to find poems she’d like, a couple funny ones by Billy Collins. She didn’t even crack a smile. Then I brought her “Adam’s Complaint.” Finally she was moved, recognizing, I think, herself in the discontent it describes. It moved my pupil from apathy to attention, resonating with and intrigued by the metaphor of desiring the moon. The poem gave her new language for the restlessness of our desire.
I prodded Leanne to dig into the poem beyond her initial reaction. Together we realized the final stanza makes a curious movement. Wells are deep, the opposite direction of the moon. Moonlight reflected in the water makes it feel possible, gives someone a concept and desire for the impossibility of drinking the moon. Given its impossibility, why does the desire persist? The image resonantes strongly in both the lunacy and attraction of it. It also ties back to the opening stanza and the connection between insatiable restlessness and the desire for the moon—despite the abundant goodness the middle stanzas describe: “white meat and dark”, “the bread, / the salt,” “marriage bed,” “cradle,” “land underneath their feet.” Nothing is enough, underscored by the repetition of “still” in each stanza.
Yet the moon itself is not still. It too is restless, in motion, uncatchable, just as human desire waxes, wanes and wanders. The moon and human desire parallel each other, which the structure of the poem suggests by bookending itself with stanzas regarding the moon.
Consider, too, the title, “Adam’s Complaint.” Adam—signaling to the reader something common to our shared humanity. As my tutee Leanne intuitively recognized, Levertov invites us to see ourselves. While the opening phrase, “Some people,” perhaps sets us at ease, she then allows the poem’s images to work on us. Maybe I’m “some people” after all; maybe the human condition is to be incurably restless. In returning to this poem years after poring over it with Leanne in that stuffy living room, it still resonates. I don’t have everything that’s named in these stanzas, but that’s not the point. I’m very slowly coming to understand that even if I had everything I thought I wanted, I’d find that “still it’s not enough / to drink the moon from.”
Out of Ashes You Made
By Peter Cheung
Out of ashes You made beauty
Below constellations, Saturn in sight, shining bright
Each person, in vast galaxies, graced this night
Out of ashes You made tiny
Beads of decoration, clay turned to art, done just right
Each person, holding a wine glass, got delight
Out of ashes You made story
Beasts by invitation, kisses still wet, touch was light
Each person, feeding a giraffe, great in height
Out of ashes You made history
Bearing condemnation, King David’s Christ, won the fight
Each person, beholding His greatness, gazed His might
Can beauty come out of ashes?
And when I pray to God all I ask is
Let beauty come out of ashes
Let beauty come out of ashes
3. Canine offspring cry (3)
8. African Queen’s right hand man (6)
9. American city debts rack up obscene percentage (8)
10. Capital link she forges with me (8)
11. Provoke injection? (6)
12. Repeat average rubbish (6)
13. Frugal European joker incorporates working (8)
14. Concern appreciates loan returns (8,5)
18. Hesitation in financial matters for supermarket staff (8)
21. Killed for angry delays (6)
23. Stars take too much with me in Ephron’s place (6)
24. Set dress, set emphasised (8)
25. Bank lost terminal, gained a rake (8)
26. Turn out text, or violently defraud (6)
27. Light which preceded Zeppelin (3)
1. I rattle! I shake! Clever clogs! (8)
2. Second drink leaves arches in disrepair (6)
3. Sister places new beginnings for maiden (8)
4. Sensual bias US repeats under compulsion is routine (8,2,5)
5. Quaker uses American National Guard on principle for agency (6)
6. O! If table turned safety vessel (4-4)
7. Nerve centres of money thought watcher applied every price (6)
15. Discretion I half called premeditated (8)
16. Shy? Blushed about first shot (8)
17. Dangerous females hear Bess is deranged (3-5)
19. There is a hard worker in the Metro, Janet. (6)
20. Right inside Cowes there is a safe haven (6)
22. Idiot holds place for wealth (6)
8. Prelate (6)
9. Extortionate (8)
10. Nordic city (8)
11. Irritate (6)
12. Bird (6)
13. Thrifty (8)
14. Cost of loans (8,5)
18. Cattle ranchers (8)
21. Put to the sword (6)
23. Constellations (6)
24. Under pressure (8)
25. Promiscuous lover (8)
26. Rip off (6)
27. Cold illumination (3)
1. Readers and writers (8)
2. Hunter (6)
3. Unmarried woman (8)
4. Normal service (8,2,5)
5. Administrative office (6)
6. Rescue ship (4-4)
7. Atomic centres (6)
15. Military planning (8)
16. Held in library (8)
17. Cubs’ mothers (3-5)
19. Classical Greek (6)
20. Protected account (6)
22. Riches (6)