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Issue 51 • January 2024
edited by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Introduction to Issue 51 • Death

Douglas Harper claims death, a foreign word in English, was used out of superstitious dread.

Dread itself a source of deep fascination:  from two words meaning “full against” or “head against.”

In this etymological sense, Death is kin to a Satan figure, a word that famously means adversary.  Death is our opponent in a war we barely understand.

Our Welshman, Dylan Thomas, fits right into this warscape, and this issue contains a fair amount of raging against: we are not done yet.

It is easy to say, too, that Death is best when chiaroscuro: we linger on Charon's shore and so become enamored of both the Platonic exit to the light above, and the deeper moors beneath.

The Freemasons, who can be faulted for many things but not their love of symbolism, encapsulate this dualness in their black and white tile. Death plays chess because our superstitious dread contains an older genius.

For me, Death is a door. It was made only for you. Please, come inside.

—Robin Wyatt Dunn