When Chris asked me to guest edit Minarets my first thought was that I was not “cool” enough to edit a journal which I’ve always seen as a place for young and experimental poets. Would I be contemporary enough to be a good editor? The fact that I’m using the word “cool” without irony signals that I’m a child of the 80s—but even I know that being “cool” isn’t cool anymore. Because to be “cool” when I grew up was to wear a particular designer or listen to a particular type of pop. The “coolest” kids conformed with more commitment than anyone else.

Minarets is that it’s short. It invites you to spend time with a handful of poets—to repeatedly sink into their words, to bring them into your body and let them change you.

In the end I had nothing to worry about. The poems I’ve selected are beautiful, painful, challenging, thought-provoking, heartbreaking and funny. They reminded me that good poems shine no matter their genre or when they were written. They make life feel intense and bright. While this issue includes mid-career poets, there’s definitely a new generation stepping forward, and I have admiration for their commitment to craft, and to sharing an authentic experience—to not conforming. That’s cool.

Sarah Jane Barnett is a poet, creative writing teacher, and book reviewer, living in Wellington, New Zealand. She has had a number of poems selected for inclusion in various journals and anthologies in New Zealand, Australia and the US. Her first collection of poetry A Man Runs into a Woman was published by Hue & Cry Press in 2012, and was a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. Her latest collection of poetry, WORK, was published in 2015. You can find her at sarahjanebarnett.net