What Matters Most, Guest Editorial by Claudine Nash
Claudine Nash is a psychologist and award-winning poet whose collections include The Wild Essential (Kelsay Books, 2017), Parts per Trillion (Aldrich Press, 2016) and the chapbook The Problem with Loving Ghosts (Finishing Line Press, 2014). She has also edited three anthologies of poetry, most recently Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love for Transcendent Zero Press (2019). Widely published, her poetry has earned numerous literary distinctions including Pushcart Prize nominations and prizes from such publications and artistic organizations as Artists Embassy International, Thirty West Publishing House, The Song Is… and Eye on Life Magazine among others.
If there is one theme that connects all the poems in the July edition of Live Encounters Children Poetry & Writing, it is that of connection itself.
Now more than ever, our minds and senses are oversaturated with a steady stream of distractions that prevent us from being fully present in our lives. Living in an era where electronic screens draw attention away from the living beings before us, where we spend our days in overcrowded urban settings far from the soothing silence of the natural world, where fear and division are used as political tools to separate us, we may feel harried and disconnected. Detached from nature, from each other and from our authentic selves, we may find ourselves feeling isolated or lost.
As research professor Brene Brown has stated, “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” On the pages that follow, we will meet several young poets ranging in age from nine to eighteen who have much to teach the adults of this world about the value of living a fully connected life.
Adela will reconnect us to the natural world through her story of a wild fox “who sees it all” on her journey. Iris will treat us to a “river” of “feelings, hopes and dreams.” Ella will remind us to share our beauty and voices with each other while Eliza and Kunchaka will embrace our origins and acknowledge our dark sides as well the mistakes and imperfections that are part of the human condition. Max, Ashley and Zoe will draw us back to our birthplaces and family, to our grandmothers’ hands “that project love into emptiness” and reach out “to hold and to be held.” Honoring her authentic self, Shivani will show those who doubt her “just how stars shine.”
We thank the staff of The Phoenix, the literary magazine of Townsend Harris High School in New York, for contributing their poems to this issue as well as our younger contributors for sharing their voices and visions with us. Collectively, their work grants a moment of true connection and an essential reminder of that which matters most.
© Claudine Nash