Volume 18 | Spring 2023 Table of Contents
Letter from the Editors-in-Chief
Spring Issue | Christine Tsu
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A fabled sanctuary from the bustle of city life, mimicking mountainous terrain. Deep green vines spill over gleaming terraces. Flowers and fruit trees sweeten the breeze. Water falls softly down the walls, misting the lush vegetation.
Over the past four years, Polyphony Lit has been my hanging garden — a place of mythical beauty and inspiration. Whenever I find myself overwhelmed with everyday life, I immerse myself in Polyphony’s diverse landscape of stories and rejuvenating wellsprings of creativity. For a lover of words, Polyphony is nothing short of paradise.
In my eyes, the most special and beautiful part of Polyphony is this: it cultivates individual growth. Polyphony is the soil, the terraces, the waterwheels. It supplies every resource and scaffolding that we need to flourish and become more…ourselves. This is not intended to solely be a love letter to Polyphony, but I can’t help gushing a bit. Because it’s impossible to express just how much Polyphony has given me, both tangibly and intangibly. I can honestly say that when I joined Polyphony as a shy, unsure freshman, I never dreamed that I would become an Editor-in-Chief. Polyphony has astronomically improved my writing knowledge and skills, as well as equipped me with the experience and confidence to lead boldly and effectively.
Then there are intangible impacts. Of course, a garden’s plants affect each other — sifting sunlight, creating structure, altering soil chemistry. So too does our Polyphony community. I’ve forged countless connections with teens across the globe, bringing me immense comfort and joy. I have so many people to thank: the editors who have lent me guidance throughout my journey; Junior Board members with whom I had the privilege of collaborating; Julian Riccobon for his endless support and invaluable assistance on anything and everything; our entire amazing adult staff and advisors. And of course, every single editor, for embodying our mission with an open mind, open heart. What never ceases to awe me is the passion, warmth, and all-inclusive camaraderie of Polyphony’s community — despite it being entirely virtual.
Like a garden, Polyphony is dynamic. It reflects the current needs, concerns, and hopes of teens across the world, which transform with every issue and volume. Thus, as this growing season comes to an end, the landscape will renew itself with fresh pieces, projects, leadership. So many recent developments — from workshops to contests to salons — have added vigor and vibrancy as Polyphony continues to expand beyond “just a literary magazine” into a space, an experience, a sanctuary. It’s bittersweet. I know there’s much more to come — and I am both thrilled for it, and saddened to be graduating so soon.
For now, though, I will savor the scenery that surrounds me. And I am dazzled.
More than anything, this spring issue of Polyphony Lit feels alive. It is an experience that is lush, sensory in nature. The pieces sprout and bloom in unexpected directions, innovating in form and structure. They give shape to emotions in the most intimate and searing of ways — from the heady lovesick fever of Yun-Fei Wang’s “iceberg / beautiful,” to the acerbic provocations of Eliza Mahon’s “A Half-Chewed Pew in a Friend’s Apartment,” to the youthfully innocent glow of Taylen Huang’s “Of Pencils & Moon-Breasts.”
It has been an incredible, humbling honor to interact with and bind together such raw talent, emotion, and humanity — distilled into the written word. I could rave about every voice I’ve encountered, how it colors my world. I could watch as the seasons continue to turn, soaking in the new growth, all those sprouts and leaves. I could sit in this garden forever.
Truly, it’s a wonder.