Let the corporality sink in first. Sixty-eight physical pages, that even now may rouse your brain with paper-smell—a little book, spine and all, that you can touch, flip, dog-ear, and tuck under your elbow. On these pages, equally fleshy, we are proud to offer a selection of poetry, prose, visual art, and quite a few of their delightfully bastard children.
This year's collected pieces are particularly concerned with two themes: nature (whimsical, succumbing, flourishing beneath subways, and pushing up through concrete) and women (incensed women, self-declared women, no one's women, frail women, women beloved and loving). We have our share of madmen, musicians, and memoirs, too. We are grateful to our contributors for the questions that their linguistic and visual choices so relentlessly invite.
I am equally thankful to my fellow editors, who carved time each week to pile into a room and take pleasure in the word—to analyze, explore, question, and cajole them into meaning. We argued over diction, defended periods, accused commas, and sighed over beautiful phrases; we ourselves became ink-ripe, got tangled in wrist bones, and discovered neighbors.
So it is with pride that I welcome you, neighbors, to the 45th volume of the Penn Review. Cuddle into the binding, swirl around the phrasing, reach into the images, and rummage through the words. Touch each page noisily, and it will respond in kind.