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Issue 29 • July 2018
The Dark
edited by Colleen Anderson

Introduction to Issue 29 • The Dark

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

                    —Edgar Allan Poe

We have pondered the dark ever since gaining the ability to wonder. From a mindless fear of what lay hidden, humans have striven to peer into darkness or keep it at bay. We must define and break down this endless nothingness into something that can be comprehended, defined, and eventually less feared.

People have been endlessly repelled by and fascinated with the dark. The classic Western movies of the earlier eras of cinema simplified it with the good guys dressed in white and the bad ones dressed in black. Star Wars showed the age-old clash of the sides of good and light with forces of the dark side. Going back further, Film noir dealt with darker, more horrific matters, gothic tales and films heavily laden with shadows and sharp angles, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Yin and Yang, good and evil, black and white, dark and light.

Gothic fiction explored the dark side of humanity’s personality. Dracula and Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus explore creatures that are either wholly of the dark or those people who dabble with forces best left buried. The dark can swallow you, like a black hole, feed your nightmares and drop your sanity into a deep, lightless well. Darkness can consume us through disease, war and the foul deeds of the ruthless. Yet darkness can be salvation, anonymity, a place to hide, or regroup and rest. It is alluring for good or ill and just as frightening for what is not revealed.

In editing the Dark issue, I found a range of explorations, from death and what lies beyond to dark matter and what lies within. Vengeance and harbingers, riders of the apocalypse and strange beings, dark intent and trickster gods; they all come from the dark and through that darkness shed a light on what it is to be human, to either embrace or to rage against the dying of the light. I hope you enjoy this issue of Eye to the Telescope on the Dark and find these poems illuminating.

—Colleen Anderson