Welcome to the Flora Challenge, Issue 57! Issue 57 is a garden of poetry, with 40 ghazals inspired by cultivars and wild shoots alike. As a bonus, we’re also proud to share with you Mary Cresswell’s review of Andy Jackson’s Immune Systems.
Roses and gardens have deep roots in the ghazal tradition, and while our poets honor those motifs, they also branch out into all corners of the flora kingdom—you’ll find weeds, seeds, kelp, poison sumac, Monet’s haystacks, crabapple jelly, night woods and deep forests, monuments to mortality, backyard tomatoes, mangroves, downpours, tree rings, the churning of seasons, and climate change within these pages.
In addition to Persian ghazals of all kinds, peruse the tercet form, a 5-lined ghazal, a free verse approach, and don’t forget to try your hand at riddles in the form of an Arabic ghazal! Blooms and buds mingle with Whitman, witch trials, selfies, an ex-lover’s new apartment, quetzals, peris, and even a shout-out to Tom Waits.
Each season’s passing echoes the song of our own lives. Love blossoms, then withers, only to return with the thaw. The poets of Issue 57 understand this well. We invite you to stroll through our garden of poetic delights!