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The Last Autumn Leaves
Ending This Run
The publisher and editor of Autumn Leaves, Sondra Ball, left this earthly life on March 17th, leaving the rest of us with the question of whether to let her zine die with her.
As her husband and assistant on Autumn Leaves, I am very aware of how much this journal was a ministry for Sondra. Certainly it was a vehicle for her own poetry, but she was not at all shy about submitting to other publishers. No, the ministry was in her publishing the poems of others, and more than that, the encouragement and development of new poetic voices. The issues posted every couple of weeks were only the visible fruit of the effort; the true work was her network of relationships with her authors, and that, I could never duplicate or replace.
However, as the fruit of those relationships, Autumn Leaves has never been only about Sondra; it's been about the voices of this community of authors and authors-in-bud. Some of these have their own zines or other modes of expression; others will find other channels to speak through. But this particular crowd, in this particular place, deserves the chance to come together one last time, to celebrate, co-create, and say good-bye.
Thus this, The Last Autumn Leaves, a final issue not just to pay tribute to Sondra, but to give a clear, climactic expression of just what made this community work. I can't describe it, explain it, or write an obituary for it. I can only create the space for it to happen one last time.
This is that space. I may also produce a print anthology drawn from these poems, for those who need something more tangible in a commemoration; although first, there's a manuscript of Sondra's poems I've run across, devoted to peace (more to come, soon, on that). However, this collection — the poems in the table of contents below and the empathic, insightful, expressive souls who penned them — is the culmination of Autumn Leaves.
Please enjoy this moment, and create new ones.
Mario was taken from this life on December 2010. He taught me photography and helped me pick out my first new camera (a Pentax SF10). He and Sondra published a book of Sondra's poems and his photography in 2007. I will be posting the poems from this book. There was only 24 of them printed for family and friends. We, the Friends, have no plans to reprint it anytime soon but we are going to publish her notebook on Indian games for the Quaker school system in the near future.