Although we’ve yet to publish a themed Brick, I am unofficially naming this one “bittersweet.” Bittersweet because we begin and end Brick 97 in celebration of the life and work of two of our longtime contributors and dear friends, C. D. Wright and Jim Harrison. The best writing—the best art—can connect us to our rawest, most vulnerable selves and offer sustenance there. C. D. Wright and Jim Harrison are true adepts in this arena. So how bittersweet it is, how blessed we are, to have their words to hold us as we mourn. And with what gratitude we hold them alongside all the many rich and varied voices within these pages.
This issue is also bittersweet to me as its publisher, since it is my last. It’s been over nine years since I first arrived at Brick. No spring chicken, but nonetheless a fledgling in the field of publishing, I found myself all of a sudden swept up into the midst of countless passionate conversations about writing, art, and life that reached from our Toronto hub out and around and across the world. My head still spins. Fortunately the editors of this journal and my colleagues at Brick HQ knew, and still know, how to keep me on my feet—that is, with boundless enthusiasm, dedication, expertise, generosity, and trust. I remain in awe of every contributor I’ve had the honour to work with and deeply indebted to my fellow Brickers. Thank you, always, to Mark Byk, stef lenk, Laurie D. Graham, Michael Helm, Liz Johnston, Michael Ondaatje, Tara Quinn, Michael Redhill, Martha Sharpe, Rebecca Silver Slayter, Esta Spalding, and Linda Spalding.
Though never drastic, changes at Brick over its forty-year history have always been expansive and energizing. What has been drastic, and therefore impossible to ignore, especially in the last decade, are the changes in how readers and writers all over the world engage with the written word; in how we connect with one another. Who better, then, to head up this new age of Brickthan a poet? Currently a Brick editor, Laurie D. Graham is one of the finest new voices to emerge in poetry anywhere (see Settler Education, published by McClelland & Stewart this spring). She’s also a former circulation manager and assistant editor of Brick and will be joining forces at Brick HQ with our stellar crew, managing editor Liz Johnston and designer Mark Byk. You will I promise find yourselves newly inspired and delighted.
Until then, you have an entire Brick waiting for you. I’d better let you dive in!
—Nadia Szilvassy, Publisher
Nadia Szilvassy is the publisher and managing editor of Brick.