poem ‘Salad’ where the speaker, describing their aunty, says: ‘It feels like I am seeing her for the very first time.’

This is a terrible question, but do you remember any work you felt particularly excited about when it came to the inbox? Or do they start to become like children and it’s impossible to pick a favourite?

HL

I love the idea of the poems and essays being like children. And yes, it’s wrong to have a favourite, but I was so delighted when Brenda Miller agreed to send us a lyric essay. You said, ‘Isn’t she the queen of the lyric essay?’ – and in my view, yes, she has that status. I know her, as some readers will, for A Braided Heart, which, as well as being a beautiful piece of writing, is also a pedagogical guide on how to write a lyric essay. The essay she sent to us, ‘A Flock of Hummingbirds is a Glittering’, is such a personal mediation on the mother-daughter relationship, the role of the carer and the body in decline.

Early on, we decided to do something a little different in this issue – to commission ‘lyric essays’ instead of critical prose. We did this because we are both huge fans of this form – and also because, for me at least, there are overlaps with poetry, or a certain kind of poetry (the kind I like) – the combination of personal narrative with figurative language. Is this how you see the lyric essay as well? And – though I shouldn’t ask – do you have a favourite child in this issue?

KM

Yes, that’s exactly why I love lyric essays! And I also love how they borrow from and move through the landscape of many different genres. And no favourites here – but I will admit to giddy excitement about the new poems from Sharon Olds!

It’s been a joy editing with you, and I love that this editorial ends this journey together exactly as we started – with conversation. I hope that this issue sparks more conversations for readers! Hannah Lowe and Kim Moore