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Letter from the Editor

Early in the morning, amid thunder and lightning and steady rain, a great rumble shook our house. Something—maybe it was the semicoherent prayer I uttered as the timbers creaked—reminded me of Scott Cairns' Idiot Psalms, a new collection of his poems recently published by Paraclete Press. (The physical book, by the way, is gorgeous; I feel as if I should have one reading copy and one simply to pick up and admire now and then, pristine.) Scott is one of my favorite contemporary poets, and I'm proud to say that one poem in the title sequence, "Idiot Psalm 6," was published in Books & Culture in 2010 (then it was titled "Idiot Psalm X"), though, alas, this isn't noted in the acknowledgments.

A couple of weeks ago, Wendy and I drove to Indiana Wesleyan University for an event in the President's Author Series. I interviewed Mary Ann Glendon (whom Wendy and I were meeting for the first time) in a public setting, with students and faculty from the John Wesley Honors College at IWU. Mary Ann and I talked about her splendid book The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt, and students from the Honors College asked her some very good questions. On our drive back to Wheaton the next morning, Wendy and I listened to Parable, a cd featuring Scott Cairns reading 26 poems, with musical interludes by Jeff Johnson, Roy Salmond, and Wendy Goodwin. (The cover of the cd is a detail from a painting by Bruce Herman.) Some poets are terrible readers of their own work; some are passable; and some (like Scott) allow you to hear their poems in your head forever after.

(On that drive home, lest you think us impossibly high-minded, Wendy and I also listened to a tasty two-CD compilation of cumbia and then shifted to the Brother Cadfael audio book we currently have going, The Rose Rent, written by Ellis Peters and narrated—as they say—by the incomparable Patrick Tull.)

Over the last few years, Marilyn Chandler ...

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