In the film History Boys, a teacher Hector sits down to tutor a student. Peering over an open text, he says:
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
I first experienced these moments reading the American Girls series at nine or ten years old, identifying with girls of the Revolutionary War era, the Victorian era, and the Civil War era. I remember similar feelings reading such works as Little Women, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Great Gatsby, Leaves of Grass, and The Poisonwood Bible. From William Shakespeare to Sherman Alexie to Milan Kundera to Margaret Fuller to Jane Austen, something magical happens when a writer pulls you into a world and that world – those characters, experiences, and emotions – becomes familiar.
Put more eloquently by the English Romantic poet John Keats: “Poetry should…should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.”
Those moments of ‘remembrance’ are what drew me to literature and the arts.
Looking over this past year’s issues, I am reminded of the diversity of this section and Door County’s literature scene: from the 2010 Hal Grutzmacher’s Writers’ Exposé & Photography Jubilee to Henry C. Timm’s essay on Herman Melville’s classic Moby-Dick to Peter D. Sloma’s review of the late Fred E. Schwartz’s book Sheffield Sketches: Chicago stories of the 1940s, Justin Isherwood’s humorous essays to Mindi Vanderhoof’s interview with Wisconsin Poet Laureate Marilyn Taylor.
The section featured poems from the UUF’s Dickinson Series, the Wallace Group, Tim Nyberg’s “Story Starters” project, and U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column. News highlighted over the year included the naming of the late Frances May as Door County’s first Poet Laureate and Nik Garvoille’s release of another issue of Knock.
My goal for 2011 is to see the same trend of diversity – and challenge writers and poets from all ages and backgrounds to remember the words of Keats as they write – to write real, honest pieces that bring readers into their world. And submit!
The works featured in the following pages highlight some of the finest creative pieces the Pulse published over the past year. They by no means represent “the best” of the year – but for me, at least, bestowed one of those “best moments in reading” that the character Hector referenced.
The Pulse accepts poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essay, and review submissions year round. For more information visit ppulse.com or email [email protected].