From Our Editors

Photo by George Marks/Retrofile RF / Getty Images

If you are like us, you have been turning more than ever lately to art in its many forms for comfort and insight.  In a recent blog post for The Paris Review, writer Claire Messud says that in “these relentlessly dark and riven times,” art “has the power to alter our interior selves.” She says that

We must struggle to change our institutions, but our resistance to the depravity and depletion of these times must go beyond that. It must also occur in our souls. We are animals, and we must not forget that we live in our bodies; but we are animals blessed with memory and language. Each of us can create unprecedented beauty. We can transmit, even if imperfectly, the contents of our imaginations. We can learn from what has come before, and from what surrounds us. We are not doomed. As Shakespeare has it in King Lear, “Tis not the worst. So long as we can say ‘this is the worst’."

In the wake of our recent Ontario provincial election, Messud’s words feel particularly raw and timely. At HRB we continue to believe that art, and especially literature, is the bulwark we need against the forces that would turn us into small-minded bigots. As Sarah Henstra points out in her interview with Danila Botha in this issue, literature’s “responsibility isn’t to direct us as to what to think, but to expand the possibilities for thinking and feeling.”

Our fourth issue has a number of pieces of writing that expand these possibilities, including two exceptional essays written in response to our submission call question, Which unsung Canadian book should we be reading in 2018? We think you will be fascinated and moved by what Evelyn Deshane and Terri Favro have to say. And of course we have a number of thoughtful reviews of recent Hamilton and Canadian books, along with the stunning artwork of our featured Hamilton artist, Adam Matak.

As we head into the fall, HRB will be undergoing some exciting changes. We’ll be welcoming some new editorial members, overhauling our website, expanding our coverage of local literary events, and establishing a regular panel series of speakers from all areas of our arts community. We’re always interested in hearing from our readers – what kinds of topics are you interested in hearing about from our panels? We will continue to work toward our mandate of highlighting the work of our local and national artists and writers with an ever-expanding diversity of voices. We have work to do, and we’re learning as we go. And we appreciate all of the support you have given us in these first two years of publication.

Happy reading and enjoy the summer!