When I reached out to Alexandre Silvério about his music, he asked if I could call him in São Paulo. It was raining in New Jersey; large droplets hit against the roof amplified by the open window. On the line, it sounded as if I had called him in the orchestra pit. There was a kind of crashing in the background. I imagined musicians warming up. One wind instrument kept tuning and he asked for me to hold a moment. There was muffled speaking, I think in Portuguese, and then the music stopped. Alexandre got back on the phone and said, I’m sorry, French horns.
I told friends I was pulling up temporary shop. It would be boutique, maybe a one-off. I was downplaying how heart-invested I felt. Most of The Night Heron Barks team showed interest in being a part of it and I was grateful for the good company. People I knew and trusted. The quality of the work that came in was stellar. I’ve read a great deal of unsolicited submissions in my life, but never of this constant caliber. It was a challenge and privilege to build. Honestly, it’s the best time I’ve had making a journal. The kind of experience that makes you say, maybe a year from now we’ll do it again.
There is connective sound between the work but the shifts in style and voice will surprise and dazzle. These are writers at the height of their craft taking risk and bending form, or leaning into short form prose and prose poems with precision. We put out a call for certain work and what we received was that and so much more.
We asked every writer whose work we accepted to give us their preferred instrument if they played in our dream band. I have a vision of all of us marching down the street playing music together and we’re making this big unruly sound. I expected at least one of the contributors to balk at it or give me a hard time. But the next part proved magical. It was like some of these writers were waiting their whole lives to be asked their instrument of choice, and be given the opportunity to articulate it. And writers being writers, they told it so well.
Back on the line with Alexandre, he asked me, what does it mean this, ran off with? And as I tried to explain, he filled in, oh, like lovers. Yeah, I said, the Jersey in my voice prevalent enough for me to notice. Alright, he told me. I will play your star bassoon.
In our dream band, on a teardrop mandolin:
EIC, Rogan Kelly