Volume 18 | 2022/2023
Letters from the Editors-in-Chief
Fall 2022 Issue | Daniel Boyko
When it comes to fall, it’s hard not to mention change. The leaves’ colors, obviously. The start of a new school year. The progression from one age to the next. Eighth graders become freshmen learning the ropes of high school. Hard-working juniors turn into, well, college-stressed seniors. I’m no exception to this change. I’ve just started college, living in a thriving city for the first time in my life, living in a dorm with another person for the first time, sharing rackety dryers for the first time. There’s so much change surrounding me that sometimes I stop, breathe for a moment, and think, How the **** am I already in college?
But really, regardless of age or circumstances, I’m sure you could replace “college” with anything else. How am I already a sophomore? How am I already driving?
Fall is, if nothing else, the perfect encapsulation of this very weird experience of aging. This very real experience of change. There’s a lot to talk about here, and there's a lot of Fall Issue-oriented letters out there. But if you closely examine (and, of course, enjoy) so many of the brilliant pieces included in this issue, you’ll notice a common undercurrent swelling through so many stanzas, paragraphs, and pages: home. And that’s really what I want to focus on—the ways homes change as we age, the ways homes age as we change.
Home, firstmost, can be a nostalgic, staunch friend when everything else around you, even yourself, changes. Or, sometimes, it’s the very thing that changes—when you move from one place to another, when your entire surroundings spill into a new environment. Home is a physical space, a space of belonging, and somehow something that eludes both definitions. The lovely pieces present here tackle many of these different forms. In “Migrating,” home is a biting reminder of the past, of before times: before the move to America, before the speaker’s life implodes in the face of a new world. In “Nine Million Sick Californians as Ocean Resuscitation,” home is something victimized, brutalized, under siege. And who could forget the titular “Mrs. Hira’s Daycare,” which provides a window into the lives of a discriminated-against yet hardworking family through—you guessed it—a type of home?
These ideas ring loudly in my ears.
Because this place you, dear reader, are currently visiting is a metaphorical home for so many of the people who made this Volume possible. I am, with the highest praise, speaking about Polyphony Lit. I’ve now been with the organization for almost four years, the near entirety of my high school experience. I’m about to sound very old, but I’ve seen this place change, grow, and evolve over these years as so many residents came in bright-eyed and curious and left just as bright-eyed, curious, but now with the knowledge and experience to better shape their future literary, creative, and just plain-old life experiences. The stories I’ve heard and seen and will soon live through are incredible. Staff editors who had only ever interacted virtually meeting for the first time in-person during a college lit mag meeting. Editors who went into STEM—far more than you might expect—and finding an ability to describe their sciences, their jobs, their passions far, far more succinctly and more beautifully than their peers. Alumni who will look back and only fondly remember the submissions they worked on—maybe even remembering that lucky one that they fought for and got published.
I know that, in many ways, this letter is my final assignment—the cherry on top of my swirling editorial experience here. I will have to step away from a place that helped define my last four years, that has provided me with nothing but immense resources and opportunities for personal growth, that has enabled me to meet some of the smartest, kindest, most-literary-enthused people I will ever meet.
This is a special place, a special home. I could go on and on, but like the fall that all too quickly turns into winter, some things were meant to be short.
To our readers, editors, and people who supersede definition, thank you. You, of course, are the pillars of this place, its sturdy foundation, its furnished interior, the elevator leading to the luxurious rooftop.
Here’s to many more years of this place being called home.