In his tribute to John Elsberg, Eric Greinke writes of his “sublime” collaboration with John, who was a poet and one of the founding editors of Delaware Poetry Review.
John was my neighbor on the Eastern Shore, as well as a close friend and mentor to me. Greinke writes of John’s appreciation for “the Zen value of egolessness,” which permeated their work together.
And he is right when he says that John was someone who always put the “poem above the poet.” Above all, John was generous and passionate about encouraging emerging writers.
To honor his aesthetic, my goal for this issue was to include not only remembrances of John by those who knew him well, but also poetry representing a variety of voices and forms. As an editor, John preferred to let the submissions “speak to each other” and form their own themes, rather than assigning a particular theme to any one issue.
Here, you will find that these poems do indeed speak to each other, and speak about the kinds of subjects that mattered to him: the complications of domestic relationships and parenting, the environment, history and myth—but throughout, there is always the pull of the sea.
In “The Beach,” John writes, “…I like the waves,//their incessant flapping,/like the sound of pages/in a heavy, unyielding volume/forever closing, especially when it’s time to go//and someone’s waiting.”