Based in Bellingham, Washington Empty Mirror is a literature journal that started out with a Beat Generation focus. It’s named after an early collection by Ginsberg, which I love. The cover of the Ginsberg collection is superb. I also admire what Empty Mirror editor Denise Enck says about the implications of that title:
“Empty mirror is a Zen concept. It means that the mind should be clear and free, egoless, a witness. A mirror’s reflections are transitory.”
It brings to mind Keats’ thoughts on the stance of the poet to the poem:
“A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity – he is continually in for – and filling some other Body…
even now I am perhaps not speaking from myself: but from some character in whose soul I now live. ”
Of course it’s difficult to escape from yourself, and all poems are ‘about’ the poet in some way. Autobiographical ones, as my new ones are in the magazine, especially so. But there is always the element of re-creating, of fictionalising what we can’t quite remember or grasp.
For Empty Mirror, the Beat focus has morphed into a contemporary literature focus, and the site hosts new poems from around the world. Though it still has a wonderful collection of Beat Generation essays and articles, and photography on the site.
I was drawn to editor Denise Enck’s description of her workspace and can imagine the new poems inhabiting that wild space, as well as haunting the ether:
“Bellingham is just south of the Canadian border in the far northwest corner of the United States, a couple hours north of Seattle . It’s bordered by the Salish Sea (and beyond that the Pacific Ocean), farmland, and the Cascade Mountain range. Deer often roam the yard below the second-floor office window. [My] home office [is] decorated in bright yellows and oranges, and a large vintage printed fabric Yellow Submarine hangs above the desk. There are vintage music, theatre and poetry posters on the walls. Bookshelves line two walls and I’ve got a comfy chair. During the warmer months you can often find me sitting cross-legged in the corner of the sofa [or] at a table in our back yard. The many landscapes feed my imagination.”
Mine too now.