How is it we ended up back in print? No logic to it, really. Simona, a friend since Brazenhead days—or no, more like Brazenhead nights—asked if I could help bring the Review out of hiatus in September of ’22. I asked Ben, whom I’d met at the Loon Hoot, a late-pandemic era reading series in Bed Stuy, if he wanted to curate the poetry. Ben then brought in Rhoni to co-captain. And so the four of us gathered at Black Spring Books, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, next door to Henry Miller’s birthplace. There we were, by chance, by choice. A record playing on the record player: Chet Baker wailing away on a sweet, mournful trumpet. Together in the same room, without planning to, we talked ourselves into a return to print. Greater efforts have led to less!
And speaking of less and more: we have slimmed down, to become eminently readable, perhaps even doing justice to that most contemporary expression of backhanded praise, “I read it in one sitting.” Read it once. Read it again. There is no real governing logic. We thought only that we would try something different.
We read our submissions blind and hold back the names of the poets and writers for you as well. By encouraging a direct encounter with the work, are we doing something original? We wish we were. A revered former professor of mine, Stephen Donadio, longtime editor of the New England Review, commented recently over lunch, that for a good long while a magazine called The New Yorker published articles this way; the vestige of that format exists to this day in the Talk of the Town. Well, but not with scratch-offs.
In this new-old iteration, we are also re-introducing a Brazenhead tradition: the Book of the Mouth club. Here you’ll find writers from those salon nights writing about books they love, their identities on full display.
Do we have a motto? Speaking for myself, I will write: variety in all things. And fuckabsolutism. In any form. (Or, maybe absolutism is OK when it comes to love—maybe even definitional.) The work here is varied. Not ideologically consistent. Would Michael, were he still with us, endorse this motto? I know for sure he would most definitely endorse having a motto, however contradictory. We are not the Kmart Review, not the Parrot Review. We are the Brazenhead Review. And hope, in any event, that you will have a unique encounter with the work gathered here. As Michael would say, “Boom.”
Do you hear that? The notes continue to sound somewhere. Is that Chet Baker on the record player? Here, the space where an editor usually writes something rallying, something unifying.