Volume 17 | Fall 2021 Table of Contents
Letter from the Editors-in-Chief
Fall Issue | Danielle Sherman
As editors we are taught to find the “thread” of a piece: the subtle undercurrent of a work, the secret message it is trying to send. When searching for the threads of this Fall Issue, I found motifs of birds and water. This was unexpected, and I started to wonder what those patterns mean for the issue as a whole—why those symbols specifically? What are they trying to tell us?
I think the answer lies in another aspect of the issue, which is that the progression of the pieces’ subject matter and language reflects a gradual transition of summer to fall. Autumn itself is a time of transition: green leaves turn red, high temperatures slowly drop, and many students are now returning to physical classrooms for the first time in years. Birds and water represent that very same shift, strange as that may sound; there is a suggestion of flightiness and fluidity in such ideas, something between freedom and shapelessness. Consider the transformative power of rain in “Falling Water” and “Countdown in the Sky”, or the evolutionary nature of birds in “The Science of Peregrination”. These threads imply volatility, realization, metamorphosis—in short, authors are writing about change.
This makes complete sense given everything that has happened over the last year. Between the pandemic and social movements, change—and all the challenges that come with it—have risen to the forefront of everyone’s life. This has only increased the value of writing as a vessel of self-expression, as well as spaces like Polyphony Lit that give authors a platform to voice whatever beliefs and emotions have surfaced during recent events. Pieces like “The Underground” and “God Shed His Grace on Thee” speak to the way our high school writers have observed and responded to this time of change.
Polyphony Lit has undergone significant changes in its own right: changes in submission platforms, in leadership, in the educational opportunities it offers. While the recent societal developments may feel overwhelmingly stressful, I believe the changes in Polyphony Lit have counteracted those detriments by building a community that is stronger, more engaged, and more collaborative than it has ever been. During a period of isolation, our editors began to work closer together in teams; when personal interaction was at its lowest, our volunteers facilitated salons, contests, and classes that connected each of us all the more.
And so this Fall Issue is a culmination of that community effort toward meeting change head-on and embracing it with all the compassion, thoughtfulness, and eagerness that makes Polyphony Lit what it is. I could not be prouder to have served such incredible editors, authors, and staff; I could not be prouder of this issue. As you read it, keep in mind birds, water, and the turning of the seasons—let them change you how they will.
Danielle Sherman, Editor-in-Chief