Summer 2020

Summer 2020

Edited by Alyssa Yankwitt and Christopher Cappelluti

ISSN 1542-3124
Nicholas Johnson

In Memoriam
Nicholas Johnson 1944 – 2019

Dear friends,

It is a unique task to assume the editorship of a well-established journal. BigCityLit’s diverse community of readers, supporters, contributors, and friends have been so gracious in welcoming us as the new editors, and we are very grateful. We hope to serve you well.

BigCityLit—the rivers of it, abridged. While compiling our first issue, we have contemplated this tagline and its meanings, and it feels as though a new meaning is being born. Twenty years after Nicholas Johnson and Maureen Holm started this journal, we are building yet another bridge into the future. At this juncture, we continue the rich tradition of BigCityLit while reaching out to new readers, new contributors, and new friends. And so, we forge ahead, ever in the spirit of Nicholas and Maureen, and everyone who has lent a hand in bringing BigCityLit to the present day.

And what a present day we find ourselves in. Across the world, normal life has been disrupted in unprecedented ways. Biologically, politically, culturally, philosophically—it is foolish, perhaps, to try delineating all the various contexts. There is no clear theme to link humanity’s current traumas.

As such, there is no theme to this issue. Many of the submissions we received are informed by the various events that have been shocking, and continue to shock, the world. It is crucial to be aware of, and alive to, all the changes that are happening right now. At the same time, though, an overload of reality can be exhausting. One need only turn on the news and take it all in, until you just can’t take it anymore.

So, in curating this issue, we give equal voice to gravity and levity. Some of this writing is inspired by the complex traumas which are changing the world right now. However, we also leave space to enjoy our all-too-human foibles, laugh, and, even if momentarily, escape.

Some read to remember, some read to forget. We hope our first issue contains something that speaks to you, whatever your intentions for reading are. We thank you for your readership and interest in BigCityLit.

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Nicholas Johnson and Maureen Holm. May their memory be our rudder as we navigate the unknown future.

All our best,

Alyssa Yankwitt & Christopher Cappelluti, Co-Editors


By Nicholas Johnson

When you came and sat on the edge
of my bed, lowered and raised your voice,
I knew your voice was the best medicine.

It conjured up visions of our recent holiday,
the houses spread out at random,
the jazzy blues of the meadows
where the inhabitants always awoke at dawn
with the tint of dawn in their faces.

In the small mirror
on the wall I could see the shape
of things to come, previews of coming attractions.
We kept going off separately but always
came back to what you called our
Contemporary Honeymoon –
where each day we could pick a few more
ripe apples from the crippled apple tree
we fought so hard to save.

Nicholas Johnson, published in The Same, vol. 6, nos. 1-2,
Edited by Philip Miller, Fall / Winter 2007, p. 1.

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