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While plagues have historically fostered every kind of loss—of freedom, of livelihood, of hope, of life itself—the isolation of grim eras such as the one we are now experiencing can also provoke introspection, fresh curiosity, and, with luck and mettle, singular creativity. If necessity is the mother of invention, so can deprivation generate art that might not otherwise have come into being, the constraints of sequestration thus giving rise to many voices and visions.

Blaise Pascal famously wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” While the writings in Conjunctions:75, Dispatches from Solitude, cannot resolve all of humanity’s problems, they tend toward celebrating, even in ways that aren’t all bliss and rainbows, the myriad meanings of what it is to be alive at a time of full-on global affliction. The very act of writing, no matter how sociable and gregarious a writer may be when stepping away from the worktable, is customarily one of solitude. The writer is often alone, often mute, detached from the world outside the window, scarcely moving for hours on end as whole prodigious universes emerge in graphite word trails on paper or pixelated sentences on laptop screens. It’s from this solitude that the literary dispatches here all derive, carrying the reader off into worlds far beyond any hermitage.

For our seventy-fifth issue we are gathering fiction, poetry, essays, and genre-bending work from writers far and wide who—despite the deficits of quarantine, self-isolation, and distancing—are closely bonded by a shared embrace of the written word and its ineffable powers of expression. Contributors will include H. G. Carrillo, Susan Daitch, Clare Beams, John Yau, Rick Moody, Nathaniel Mackey, Francine Prose, Michael Ives, and others.

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In Print

Vol. 74
Grendel’s Kin: The Monsters Issue
Spring 2020
Edited by Bradford Morrow

Online

September 30, 2020
The birds here 
Have not changed
They drop salt not seeds
Into my open mouth

Now—my back bare to the sky
Breasts buried in soil
Thrust into the darkness of this
Searching out each star
September 23, 2020
A poem listens
to both rooms from the middle
ground of its title, the threshold strip
 
September 16, 2020
An exhibit was all you wanted

and me to lay close
my face

like a film behind a curtain
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