“I’m working on the world, / revised, improved edition,” wrote Nobel Prize–winning poet Wisława Szymborska—apt words for 2021. Amid this time of extraordinary challenges, the holidays remind us to be grateful too—for those near and far and for the stories that bind, remind, and inspire us. With that thought in mind, here is this year’s Gratitude collection.
First off, Madelena Grossmann provides hope amid the heartbreak of a humanitarian crisis in “Refuge,” while Wisława Szymborska invites us to revel in the joys of world building with her poetry. Ifeoma Sesiana Amobi’s “Small Blip on an Eternal Timeline”—selected for the 2021 Pushcart Series—shows us the beauty of love shared and lost. James and Kay Salter prove that, indeed, “Life Is Meals,” in this record of a long, food-rich marriage. “Freedom,” a story from Ha Jin, reminds us that independence is both a privilege and a responsibility, and Catherine Raven, author of Fox and I, chronicles the delights of a quiet life of solitude among animals in her essay “Top Drama Will Be Renewed for Another Season.” W. S. Merwin brings us home to gratitude with his poem “Gift.”
From our table to yours, thank you for being part of our story.
She had found the center of herself.
Even a simple “Hi” makes you feel quite extraordinary.
The Pushcart Prize series, 2022
The kiss lingered there. Hope flew into my chest.
Life is many things, and among the best of them, it is meals.
It became clear that he was a free man through and through.
2022 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award
I must be led by what was given to me as streams are led by it.