A Silver Splendour, A Flame: A Myth in Four Acts
The first Persephone poem we ever published was "Past the Rivers," by Catherynne M. Valente, in the Fall issue of 2006. It was also the first poem of Cat's we ever published. It set the bar extremely high in terms of what we would accept where Persephone was concerned; for months afterwards, we would often receive submissions containing poems about Persephone, measure them against "Past the Rivers," and find them wanting.
This is not to say we never bought another Persephone poem; quite the contrary. Peruse our archives and you'll sometimes find three to an issue. We love Persephone; we love that she can be anything from Jane Morris holding a pomegranate to Ani DiFranco plying starry contraband in a speakeasy. We love to see what strikes people about this character, about her story.
Persephone is, along with mermaids and Little Red Ridinghood, one of the top three choices of subject where people who submit to us are concerned. It's fascinating to see in how many ways her story is told and re-told; who writes from Persephone's perspective, from Hades', from Demeter's; who writes Persephone as a child or a grown woman; who privileges her desire for home over her desire for a husband and queendom.
Although "Past the Rivers" was our first Persephone poem, it wasn't the first of Cat's. "Descent of the Corn-Queen of the Mid-West" appeared in Issue 14 of Mythic Delirium, in the Spring of 2006, just before we launched our first issue of Goblin Fruit; dozens of her stories and poems touch on katabasis, on descent. She has since written at length about what Persephone's story means to her and why she is drawn to it, and in doing so, has also touched on why so many of us are.
We are honoured to have Cat be another first for us, in authoring our first serial, and are delighted that she is telling us this story again.
Curious about previous incarnations of Persephone in Goblin Fruit? Take a wander through the archives and visit:
"Past the Rivers," Catherynne M. Valente, Fall 2006
"The Wedding," Marge Simon, Spring 2007
"Seeds," Jasmine Johnston, Spring 2008 (This one has a very special recording.)
"Custody," Rosalind Casey, Spring 2009
"Persephone Returned," Nicole Kornher-Stace, Spring 2009
"Invocation," Carla Martin-Wood, Spring 2009
"Ceres," Karen Berry, Spring 2010
"For Pomegranates," Leah Bobet, Fall 2010
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