Editor’s Swing: Free State Review 15

Nov 6, 2022 | Bubbler, FSR

In Youngstown, Ohio, and Austin, Texas, and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and Wachapreague, VA, and Southwest Harbor, Maine—most places I’ve learned the zip codes to this year— people ask me, “What is totally limited omniscience?” And sure, I could say, an aught band from Durham. Or a quiet form of acting out. Or minimalism grown old with liver spots and yellow teeth. Or a white t-shirt you left at someone’s graveside. But really it’s just the same thing it always meant: that we are capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, and doubts, without any
Irritable Reaching after fact and reason. Like a music you can only hear by reading, it isn’t for everyone. And personally, I only go for it about 35 percent of the time. Like how I’m vegan but sometimes eat a fish for breakfast.

Our cover art is by Helen Temple, from her series of naked balloonists. Temple had left Germany before WWI during the Dreyfus years. In England, she concealed her German and Jewish identity and became a melodrama actress—a theater of gray, unremarkable characters engaged in sensationalized plots. This no doubt informs most of her painting. In all of her figures, it is nearly impossible to guess where someone is from or which Abrahamic traditions they believe.

This year the editors all got Covid. Some got new careers. Some graduated. Some didn’t graduate. Out of frustration for the frustration of everything and wanting to lessen it in the world, we canceled our full and chapbook manuscript reading fees. We figured, hey, help us this year by following guidelines, and it’s on us. The fees may come back next year. May not.