Letter from the Featured Photographer, Jim Zola

Dear Readers and Poets,

First off, let me apologize for any slights that might be perceived by my comments and photo selections. None were intended. This was a very difficult process, picking photos to go along with poems. And let me say, the poems within this collection are all truly inspirational. If I had a year to work on it, I might have been able to find a closer match to each poem.

Truth is, I hesitate every time I write in my bio note that I am a photographer and a poet. Just because one writes, doesn’t make them a writer. I have always loved the music of language. I wrote my first poem in fifth grade in the voice of the Thanksgiving turkey. And I have always had an eye for the poetic image, almost literally. When I was 7 years old, I started imagining that my eyes were cameras and that each time I blinked I was taking a photograph. In High School, I set-up a darkroom in my basement.

But these days, I don’t even have a camera. All my photos are taken with my phone. And I watch with a jealous eye at friends who are academic poets and publishing book after book.

Simple pleasures keep me going. And the passion that drives the artist still burns inside me. I am grateful for the opportunity Sandy gave me to give this project a try. And I admire each and every one of the poems she selected for this issue.


Bio: Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full-length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.