Fair is my love and cruel as she's fair.

Love is what it always has been: everything and nothing; life and death; laughter and suffering; giving and taking away; pain and pleasure; gain and loss. If ever we had a thread, it is love in Number 12 - from our first text to our last, from the first campus ‘Attempts’ via the dead childhood love of a bear's broken honey or the dark and crooked story of love's breakage and seepage in ‘Piano’ or a baby's first memories or the fleeting encounter of ‘Magnolia’ right through to the love of a place where home might be on the last page. Look out, too, for the apple as leitmotif of love's temptation.

All love is sweet
Given or returned.
Common as light is love,
and its familiar voice wearies not ever.

(Shelley, Prometheus Unbound)

If love be the food of poetry, read on ...

It was only after we had put together the newleaf you are holding in your hand that we realised that it is the first since Issue Two - nearly seven years ago - with contributions exclusively by writers who are either studying or have studied in Bremen. We think this is a very healthy sign, telling us that much of the material we get from home-grown authors is still superior to a lot of the unsolicited manuscripts that reach us from all over the world. :) This is, of course, not true. Number 13 will most probably see the welcome return of the guest writers. But it just so happened that Werder Bremen's never-even-dreamt-of-and-probably-long-remembered series of seven wins in a row coincided with the editors putting together a practically home-grown issue of newleaf.

Our genre mixture this time is just about half-and-half, with three short stories sandwiched by poetry. Our author mix is also just right: alongside the stalwarts are three new names: Kendra Shirley from our partner university Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, Julia Boll - currently at the University of Liverpool - and Eibe Meiners from our sister Department of German.

We are notorious producers of paper. A fourteen-inch monitor is not conducive to correcting proofs and layout on screen, so we do tend to cover the editorial floor with drafts, drafts of drafts and drafts of drafts of drafts. But we do re-cycle - honest - and some things never get wasted. Take the little sketch of a Chilean flower we found on a manuscript sent to us two years ago by Ann-Kathrin Schwarz. After sliding around our desk for a few months, it ended up in the microwave and came out as the sweet graphic that graces the end of this editorial and appears as a paragraph spacer in some of the stories and between the short poems.

The size of the magazine has proved to be restrictive in a lot of ways, one of them being that it has been difficult to publish short stories of a more ‘normal’ length. Most of the stories we receive have simply been too long, taking up half or more of one issue. We have now decided that if newleaf can be saved long-term we will begin to include stories as serials, i.e. continued from one issue to the next. Dickens would have been proud of us.

Simon Makhali and Ian Watson, January 2002