Once your work is published, dear author, it’s pretty much out of your hands. Readers will translate it into their own internal voice, or aloud, or if you’re lucky into another language altogether. They’ll read it alongside the news and in competition with their to-do list, or maybe in the company of reviewers, social media flashes, or conversation among peers. Being read might be an uncomfortable experience, or it might be a flattering one, but without it the work is incomplete.
“All art traffics in some kind of translation,” Jennifer Grotz suggests in a poem midway through this issue, about a painting more than four hundred years old. It’s probably not worth thinking about this too much, but your work might also have to contend with time: What will it mean six months from now, a decade, a century, should we humans live to see another century? Earlier in the issue, essayist Matt Jones considers what happens to meaning over, say, ten thousand years, wondering, how can we communicate with the future?