The ghost of Flannery O’Connor reaches into the Southwest and into this issue of Pilgrimage. She assumes many forms—a leaf frozen in the play of shadow and light, a mother doing her best not to repeat the bitterness of another family’s fight with cancer, the lingering scent of a dog sprayed by a skunk.
The quote we used for inspiration carries the paradox of how we find ourselves wanting to glide through life’s unpredictability while remaining stubbornly opposed to it. We have to be ready for fear that arrives unannounced and distinguish when we should or should not yield to it. Our writers and the photography of Viktor Zyryanov celebrate the miraculous of the every day. They remind us to slow down and admire the overlooked places where we reside. We have to be ready to wander as well with the curiosity of a sea monster or keep trying to find the right to say carajo. Our places of worship come with skipping church to play in the weeds and dirt or the quiet fifty-yard line of a high school football field or in the eyes of a crying prisoner. We are searching for faith challenged and reaffirmed by our fellow poets, narrators, and characters that place us in the calm of stealing someone’s soul, the daydreams in a clearing on the off chance of a rendezvous, the taste of beauty and violence converged in sugar, and how we pit aging with dignity against knowing when relocation is not an option.
We thank you for joining us as we continue to usher in growth and change for our magazine. This issue also marks the announcement of some important partnerships. We continue to affirm our loyal readers and contributors that have allowed this magazine to thrive over the years. We also appreciate our friendships with many writing communities, including CantoMundo, an organization that cultivates a community of Latina/o poets. Through workshops, symposia, and public readings, CantoMundo provides a space for the creation, documentation, and critical analysis of Latina/o poetry: www.cantomundo.org. Another exciting partnership is with the SoCo Reading Series, which brings poets and writers to the CSU-Pueblo campus for featured readings and classroom visits. We have featured CantoMundo Fellows and SoCo readers in our pages already, and will continue to do so in the future. We also made our migration to Submittable for submissions, but we’re still happy to check the mailbox here at CSU-Pueblo and find stamped envelopes holding your words. Both were filled with responses to our call for “Grace” that created the strong dialogue of prose and poems here. We are always looking for ways to grow our Pilgrimage community in the spirit of collaboration, so reach out to us if you know of another organization or individual who can help us keep our voices flowing through these words.