THE EDITOR WRITES: In early March the guillotine came down, between those who could afford to look after their bodies and those who couldn’t, between those who had somewhere to go and those who didn’t, between those for whom a sense of self-worth was a given and those who had to fight for it every hour of every day. In the time of COVID-19 the writers of The Pilgrim are under extraordinary pressure, and their testimony, their witness, is compelling. This issue of The Pilgrim, our first digital edition, is half its usual size. The majority of the writings herein were produced and gathered in atomized spaces, out of the splinters of community – “the crucifixion of normal,” as James Van Looy calls it. That we have them at all is a tribute to the courage and tenacity of the writers.
“Poets are tough and can profit from the most dreadful experiences,” said WH Auden - a line upon which The Pilgrim’s Daniela Hilditch expands in this issue. Right now the toughness of the poets is being tested. “How do I start this writing?” asks Augustus Foy, from inside the belly of the whale; Yvonne attunes herself to silence as to a sixth sense; Kevin Walker, faithful reporter of the homeless environment, finds a consoling resonance in the Book of Job.
We welcome to our pages Shawn Carver, Joe Giardina, Miss J, Tom, Salene B and Alicia Foss. And if you’re a first-time reader, we welcome you too.