Coming of age?

At eighteen, newleaf is far from being reasonable or straightforward. Many of the desires and secrets in this edition are hidden like a pearl in an oyster; as always, you need to read between the lines to have access to the stories behind the words. Among our writers this time, we have a few exciting new voices from far away, plus the reliable 'old hands', growing ever more experienced at bringing out the dead and dark. At eighteen, we still make love, though – maybe even more fervently than before.

We were pregnant over the summer – Ole D. Herlyn's book of poetry and short prose, Changing Nighthouses, edited by Julia Boll and with excellent illustrations by Oliver Chrystossek, finally came out in November to bring some light to those sombre northern evenings. You'll find an ad for it on the back inside cover – but then of course you've bought one already, haven't you? Thanks go to the Bremer Literaturkontor, who gave us a printing grant when the university was freezing funds – and us out.

There is also a new special edition, part one of three named 'Pretty in a Jar' by Karsten W.N. Kurze, which is available free with this new magazine and which should satisfy your thirst for the unexplainable.

Leitmotifs in 18? You'll find a few. Watch out for guns and kettles.

Sonnets are here to stay and, as always, newleaf proudly presents a couple, some with fourteen lines, some not. A propos stanza forms: some say that riddles are what makes poetry hum. You are invited to look for another kind of recurring kind of poem hidden in our pages that celebrates the vertical. newleaf , like life, is a riddle from beginning to end.

This time, the Pennsylvania connection is particularly strong. Dickinson College, Carlisle PA, is one of the University of Bremen's oldest international partners, and students from Dickinson have increasingly been part of the Creative Writing scene at Bremen over the last few years. newleaf 18 includes work by two Dickinson final-year students, Kevin Stoehr and Kirsten Mazza, both of whom were members of the writing workshop in the summer. The latter also did a very successful internship with newleaf last spring and summer, helping organise all the tenth birthday events and also featuring in the movie about us that came out in June, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About newleaf And Never Dared To Ask, a fischbach76 production directed by Patricia T. Schultz. Anyone wishing to view this short but traumatically explosive movie (described by the Kasachstan Evening Telegraph as "Godzilla meets Four Weddings and a Funeral") on DVD or video CD (rating PG 3 1/2) should contact the editors.

The Pennsylvania connection works both ways, of course. Another of our authors, debutante Kirsten Korell, spent a year at Dickinson, and that's precisely what our PR manager Anja Pätzold is doing right now. A newleafer never rests, and even in the States Anja has been promoting the magazine, including at the Sirena Poetry Festival in Carlisle in October, which also featured Bremen poets Michael Augustin and Sujata Bhatt. Here's looking at you, kid.

As in Issue 17, our illustrations are by Martin Kakies. And we hope they will be in 19 too.

Which brings us to the next item on the agenda…

Julia Boll, Simon Makhali and Ian Watson, November 2004