Image: Granville Carroll
Welcome to Panorama: The Journal of Travel, Place, and Nature’s SPACE issue. From the very small to the enormity of our imaginations, essays grow from the furtive earth-bed of mushroom forests to the stars. Granville Carroll’s afro-futuristic cover artwork “Becoming” places us in space. John Angerson provides the obligatory rocket-propelled photos. Matilde Gattoni reminds us that one’s freedom to explore space can suddenly be taken away.
The connection with space doesn’t stop there. Melissa Tuckman’s aptly titled poem “Space Junk” connects space debris to modern living. A new section on New Nature Writing probes the world beyond our urban confines. In the second outing for Decolonising Travel, there are excruciating, painful stories, sexual imaginings in the steam room, and personal reflections on historical ties to oppression; all whilst giving writers who have come through VONA/Faith Adiele’s writing programme space to share their work. We finish the issue with a stroll through London — the most ethnically diverse world capital — through the lens of Books Editor Nicolas D. Sampson.
A variant of Old, Middle French espace — from the Classical Latin spatium, meaning room, area, distance, stretch of time — ‘space’ ( /speɪs/) is thought to originate from the Indo-European speh meaning to stretch, or to pull. Its meaning has become entwined with time, position, and space programmes. Yet, when we hear the word, do we think about distant stars, and galaxies beyond? Some do, and we have a number of responses that talk directly to the stars. Aimee Morales counts stars, Kelli Russell Agodon corresponds with stars, and Cid Galicia has a mod night dance party at a “Saturn Bar Ghazal.”
Anna Evans’s “Moon Rock” brings us back to ground, chalk pits, and all. We are taken upon a cruise ship to Alaska by Kayann Short, to Duino Castle by Constance Lieber — collapsing time and space in dialogue with the past — and to the Tempest of Belluno by Tivara Tanudjaja. Space allows for new developments as we see in an extract from Chika Unigwe’s forthcoming novel, “The Middle Daughter,” when Mother buys her dream clinic. For Angelo Lacuesta, space, intimacy, and conversation are interwoven in a triptych of poems. Author Helen Benedict, known for breaking the culture of silence on rape in the military, is in conversation with Robin Hemley on her latest book “Map of Hope and Sorrow,” co-authored with Syrian writer and refugee, Eyad Awwadawnan. “Memory Scrubbing” is a warning to us all — when we are denied the right and space to speak or challenge — as offices, archives, and staff of Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organisation Memorial HRC are laid siege. “Foreign Puzzle” is a long-form exploration of self, care, and love.
Space has truly made itself at home at Panorama, as this issue becomes almost twice the size of previous publications. The number of submissions and the quality of work received has been extraordinary, such that we could double the issue again, should time and space have allowed. The editors — Nicolas D. Sampson, Faith Adiele, Kevan Manwaring, Sarge Lacuesta, Vimi Bajaj, Richard Ali, Marie Baléo, Devi Laskar, David Ishaya Osu, Kerry Neville, Joelle Renstrom, and Samuel Autman — have been magnificent, as have all contributors. Thank you all. In future issues, we will need more people to read, more people to edit, and more people to be involved more broadly, as we try to provide a platform for more great work. Meanwhile, I’m delighted that the theme has caught everyone’s imagination and hope that you enjoy the issue. I give you SPACE.
— Matthew Webb, Director, Panorama