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Welcome to diode 4.1. This is an issue of firsts, for us. This is the first issue of our fourth year and our first issue to offer prose along with poetry, in what we’re calling, for now, our “special features” section. Along with essays we’re hoping to ultimately include reviews and mixed media features. We’re delighted to be able to include essays by T. R. Hummer, Ami Kaye, and Jon Pineda in this issue, and thank them for helping give our special features section such an auspicious start.

Less auspiciously, this is the first issue that has been late. Jeff and I, along with Samia Touati, are co-editors of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Gulf Poetry, to be published by Garnet Publishing/Ithaca Press, UK, in 2011. Gathering the Tide was over three years in the making, and it is the product of the work of nearly a hundred poets, translators, editors, and others. The final push to get it to the publisher took priority over just about everything. We apologize for being late—that’s one first we didn’t want to experience.

But back to the celebration. As diode enters its fourth year, it does so with what we think is a truly incredible issue: in addition to the “special features” essays, it presents some of the best and most exciting work of twenty-three poets. And we’ll continue the celebration with them, with all our previous contributors, and with as many of our readers as we can at the 2011 AWP Conference in Washington, DC, this coming February.  Again we’ll have a table at the Bookfair, and again, by popular demand, we’ll be holding an off-site reading by many of our current and past contributors.  The place and time haven’t been set yet, but keep an eye out for the announcement.  We hope to see you there.