I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the desolate John Berryman poem that inspired this magazine’s name, “Certainty Before Lunch.” It’s one of his later poems, explicitly religious in nature (unlike his more famous Dream Songs). He writes that “Ninety percent of the mass of the Universe / (90%!) may be gone in collapsars, / pulseless, lightless, forever–if they exist.” The poet contemplates his friends disappearing, his wife disappearing, himself disappearing. In collapsars, what we now call black holes, he finds a perfect metaphor for the mathematical uncertainty of life.
He tries to take comfort in his God: “My Lord, I’m glad we don’t depend / on x or why for Your being there. / I know You are there,” he writes. Yet, still: “The sweat is, I am here.” And that’s the hard part.
In 2013 James Brubaker and I started The Collapsar with the idea of publishing the best writing we could find. We published seven issues, one roughly every two months, then took a leave of absence in late 2014 to try and figure out how to make the magazine better. Something about our format felt wonky: we were trying to treat the internet like it was print, and it wasn’t quite working.
I’m a long-lasting lover of print media, but the internet works much better on the internet.
And so the idea of running daily content was formed. The idea of moving from a straight literary journal format that only ran fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry to a magazine format that would marry both mass culture and high culture was born, a messy mix of poetry and music and conversation.
I think this suits both our tastes and proclivities as both readers and writers, but also as editors. And now we’re finally ready to share it with you. We hope the pieces we’ll be publishing in the coming days will resonate as much with you as they have with us.
We’re here. Let’s converse, shall we?
–Nathan Knapp, editor