Editor's Note – Foreign Bodies

Soliciting submissions is a little like a dialogue.  We announce a theme as though posing a question, and then receive work, as if in reply.  As we read submissions, a colorful, vibrant, multi-layered mural emerges, an organic entity limited only by the creative imagination and the power of language.

The range of subjects the submissions to our Foreign Bodies edition was wide, and we were often delighted anew to see how writers worked within the theme.  Selection of the final pieces was difficult, not only because of malleability of the theme, but because we were privileged to read so much worthy and interesting work.  We were greatly helped in this task by our wonderful guest editors, Mark Mirsky for Fiction, and Sarah Wetzel for poetry.

In the Poetry section we were offered an embarrassment of riches.  We opened the section with Kim Roberts’s “Vital Force” about the nature of self.  And we ended the poetry entries with Robert King’s “Drinking Tu Fu” about how that self connects to the world at large.   In between we traveled the gamut of displacement, identity, alienation and the body vs. the soul, as well as poems about how our own body can become estranged from itself through travel, relationships, tragedies and time.  We concluded the poetry selections  with “In Memoriam” –  a selection of work from  Andi Moriah, who documented her battle with cancer through her poetry.

About the Non-Fiction selections,  CNF editor Marcela Sulak, writes, “I think that, for me, the pieces I selected reminded me of the etymology of the word “foreign,” which comes from Latin, meaning out of doors, or exterior.  All of the essays I chose exploit the tension between the exterior (of a body attacked by illness, of a disabled body, of a city in which one is a tourist, of a household) and the interior–the secret knowledge that the exterior conceals.”

Not surprisingly, many of the pieces in the fiction section deal with the complex territory of relationships.  Tamar Perla’s  Babylove  is a study on the presence of a child that was never born,  Mara Grayson’s Secrets, portrays the effect of  pornography on a relationship.  And we are proud to publish Him and Her, the first publication of Andrea Bregman, an emerging writer from the Bar-Ilan Creative Writing program, with whom we are affiliated.

We are especially pleased to bring you Miriam Libicki’s Strangers, a graphic piece whose urgent words and vibrant illustrations deal with the issues faced by foreign workers in Israel.

Completing this collection is an interview with the poet Joy Ladin, formerly Jay Ladin, the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution.  Joy is interviewed by Annie Kantar in a fascinating discussion on the way gender might act on the creative impulse.

As we’ve read, discussed, emailed, and edited work for Foreign Bodies, we’ve come to see that the line between what is foreign and what is familiar is most elusive.

We hope you enjoy the result.


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