Editor’s Note: Parents
When the editors of The Ilanot Review chose the theme “Parents,” it was an attempt to think about our most basic, fundamental, essential humanity. We are grateful to our amazing guest poetry editor, Ann Fisher-Wirth, for thinking through this issue with us, and for bringing in voices we would not have had otherwise.
When we first entered Earth through a mother body, we couldn’t do anything. We had caring humans we called parents, and they fed us, changed our diapers, told us stories, taught us to speak and pray and read and how to use utensils for eating and personal hygiene, and that sort of thing. Most of us learned to love, to feel secure, from these parents; some of us did not. Many of the poets and writers in this issue have been performing parenthood ourselves.
Because of the power of our common humanity, which originates from parents, and which we perpetuate through the act of parenting, it soon became obvious that we would need two editions of this issue: one for works whose lines ended before the page did, and one whose lines ended at the margins. We called these two editions “Poetry” and “Prose.” Evening came and morning followed, and we think these editions are very good.
I realize the tone of this introduction might sound somewhat strange and even flippant, but I am writing in the 22nd day of war between Israel and Hamas and I am very serious. Right now the war is taking place in Gaza and Israel; it is also taking place in Lebanon and Syria and the West Bank. These geographical locations are dear to a great percentage of the world’s population, since they are the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, and of great significance to Islam. This land itself can be said to partake of our “parent” theme. And it is extremely difficult—at times, almost unbearable—to face one another in times of war, and to remember the basic humanity we share.
These two editions of the “Parents” issue contain poetry, prose poems, microfiction and short-form nonfiction from the most vulnerable places—our helplessness and dependence on one another as human beings, which we never outgrow, even when we are no longer children, and the vulnerability of knowing helpless children and dying parents depend on you.
We are grateful to everyone who engaged with these complex, nuanced literary pieces, whether as poets and writers, or as readers. As usual, we gather diverse voices for conversations that could only happen (given the geo-political realities of the physical world) on the page. We are grateful to you for being here among us.
Oct. 29, 2023, Ramat-Gan West