Welcome to the first issue of The Willowherb Review: “Liminality.”
When I sat down to consider the works gathered here, I was struck by their overlaps: the soft borders between their birds, skies, waters, the worlds our writers create on the page.
The authors inhabit a range of places, whether their current homes or past lands they carry with them. The United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Germany, Bolivia, New Zealand, and Malaysia are but a few that appear. Ultimately, each of these are works that speak of thresholds. Of hard borders and tidelines, new stages of love and life, and the ways the natural world can shape, soften, and sometimes overtake us.
These are texts that challenge rigidity. In Robyn Yzelman’s text, the difficulty of leaving an abusive relationship is counterbalanced with the gift of birds. In Michael Malay’s piece, elvers transgress hard national borders in a time of political crisis, moving between tenses. For Nina Mingya Powles, waters across many continents flow together. These are just a few of the pieces that led me so pleasantly adrift from our often bleak present. They speak to a time in which borders—whether national, social, or otherwise—have hardened.
This issue also marks the beginning of what I hope will be a regular series: Fieldnotes, a column where those making new tracks in nature for people of colour—whether as naturalists, birders, botanists, or researchers—can reflect on their journeys so far. This issue hears from Mya-Rose Craig, a sixteen-year-old British-Bangladeshi birder and advocate for diversity in naturalist pursuits.
The support The Willowherb has received in the short months since our Kickstarter has been enormous. This issue wouldn’t have been possible without those who contributed, and for that I’m very grateful. If you haven’t contributed but would like to, you can support us here. Likewise, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my two editorial assistants, Dasom Yang and Isabel Galleymore: this would not be the same without you.
The coming year—though it brings some turbulence with it—also marks our next round of submissions, in search of four writers on Epping Forest. Submissions open 1 January, 2019.
Thank you for stopping by. I wish you well as you venture to the shores and horizons in these texts.
Best wishes for the season,
Jessica J. Lee