At the time of writing, I am in the midst of organizing seventeen peer-reviewed pieces into the likeness of a literary journal. According to the Pitkin manual, I can either take a shortcut and group them by genre, or else read them all and order them by common images, shapes, or themes. In the latter instance, the manual advises, “the order becomes a work unto itself.”
I can only assume the pun on “work” is intentional. This is because being a part of the Pitkin is more or less a temporary, part-time job—more in the satisfaction that it brings and less in the absence of any other compensation. In this regard, the Pitkin will always be a labor of love: love for Goddard, its students, its faculty and staff, and for all the Pitkin people who gifted their time over the past nineteen years, thereby inspiring and obliging us to do the same.
This issue’s theme, CLARITY, marks the start of a new decade. It is also a nod to program director Elena Georgiou’s keyword at the fall 2019 residency in Port Townsend. The pieces within these pages are crafted not by writers who claim perfect acuity, but by writers who humbly recognize the imperfections in both themselves and the world around them.
There are true stories and invented stories, which are, as the sole critical piece, Obscuring the Line Between Memoir and Fiction, argues, often one and the same. Some works ratchet up the tension; others release it in a torrent of sensation, color, and sound. Questions— implicit and explicit—bind individual examinations of segregation, addiction, sexual assault, gun violence, and medical trauma into a greater narrative that explores what it means to be a writer and witness. When the closing poem declares, “I am from Goddard,” it speaks powerfully on behalf of us all.
On our website, the Associate Editors-in-Chief, to whom I am deeply indebted, chose to exclusively feature two pieces of sweetness and relief. Even in great darkness, we can hold fast to art as if to a pure and shining light.
I hope you savor these works as much as we did in the process of assembling this issue. Having sought out the conversation, you may find that there is plenty of space for you to join.
The Pitkin Review, Spring 2020
JAIMIE LI is completing her Masters in Fine Arts at Goddard College in Port Townsend, WA, and, in June 2019, received the $10,000 Goddard/PEN North American Centers Scholarship for her work in fiction and memoir. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Spring 2020 issue of Goddard’s literary journal The Pitkin Review, and her written work has appeared in Poetry Northwest and Darling Magazine. In 2011, she received her BA in Law at Balliol College, Oxford University. Her favorite place to write is at home on the Cedar River in Maple Valley, WA which she shares with her husband, Chris, and their one-eyed cat, Raider.