This is a very difficult editorial note to write; after years in the Poetry Editor’s chair, the April – June 2018 issue is the last to have Mandy Pannett as our Poetry Editor. It has been an incredibly good journey. Mandy’s commitment to the Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine, as I have noted in several other issues, has sometimes seemed, in my view, stronger than mine.
For some time now, I have personally not been particularly satisfied with the overall working of the magazine, and I just do not want the magazine to simply publish a bunch of poems, short stories, books reviews and plays. I want this magazine to have more character and gravitas. The vision I am articulating will task us all, especially time-wise, and the processes I would like to put in place will not fit in to the way Mandy works, particularly, considering the time she needs to devote to her teaching, and own writing and readings.
It has indeed been a great honour and blessing to have worked with Mandy on various Sentinel projects, events and publications. We still are in agreement that she will remain a part of our events and readings, and SPM Publications is looking at publishing a new poetry collection from her.
The SLQ Poetry and Sentinel Champions sections in this issue have Mandy Pannett’s signature on them. In the former, we encounter a range of voices that she has chosen from submissions to the magazine, showcasing her exquisite poetic taste, and in the latter, we meet the winning, commended and specially-mentioned poems from the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2018) which she judged. This was not planned to pan out this way, but truly, it is an awesome way for her to drop her editorial pen at the SLQ and she shall surely reap many blessings and continued goodwill from me, the rest of the Sentinel crew and our readers who have been touched in some way by her sensitivity and generosity, but most importantly, by the respect with which she has treated people’s work as an editor or Judge. Oh, by the way, we have an agreement that Mandy Pannett will judge the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition every February for the foreseeable future.
As I consult and pitch my ideas to the team I hope to work with from January 2019, I shall be the sole editor of the July – September 2018 and October – December 2018 issues.
Back to April to June 2018, due to space, we do not have a play this quarter. Expect a good one in July. There are three short stories here by John P. Asling ‘A Time for Every matter’, Frank Scozzari ‘Defenders of Misrata’ and Ian Inglis ‘The Beautiful Game’ As I read through these stories, I considered the importance of how human beings treat each other, and the depths of wounds that follow every unkind act, and a statement I saw on a friend’s Facebook page recently resonated really loud: “If you have to be something in this world, be kind’.
There is something about the musicality of Peter Taylor’s Morningsong and the penetrating observations he weaves into words that stir and invite change; “A bird’s feathers suffice in any weather – / whereas man, on the other hand, is born / and stays forever naked, forever vulnerable, / forever bartering for wraps and paints to / warm his body, adorn his head and limbs, / to hide his nakedness and shame.” Man’s greatest shame comes not from being naked, but from not being there for our friends and our neighbours, and from pretending not to see the evils around us. As we search those things that cover our inner and outer nakedness, we become savages. We lie. We cheat. We kill our own kind.
Nnorom Okezie Azuonye, Managing Editor