Letter From the Editor, June 2021
“The body says what words cannot,” Martha Graham once told us, with her usual romantic edge. It’s been a long time since my bare feet touched a Marley floor, and even longer since they hit the stage, but even at the height of my dance career I rankled at the thought that there was anything at all words couldn’t say. Dancing, to me, was a rare indulgence in silence and an experiment with flesh. But, I thought, I probably could say whatever it was a Graham contraction was saying with words more easily—certainly less sweatily—with a pen and paper. Perhaps that’s why I’m here.
After living as a disembodied head among the many other disembodied heads that make up The Blue and White these last six months I’ve spent as Editor-in-Chief—and after passing many focused hours considering what exactly their words can say—I’ve come to the conclusion that Martha Graham was right. The energy and emotion of this month’s issue are a testament to how desperate the members of our little magazine are to dance again.
I don’t mean to imply that their words don’t say enough. Elizabeth Jackson has a great deal to say about Columbia’s new sustainability plan. Sam Needleman will tell you Michael Henry Adams had over six hours’ worth of things to say about “protecting, preserving and celebrating Harlem’s irreplaceable built heritage.” And Willa Neubauer’s subjects at Book Culture might have a thing or two to say in defense of what the books they sell have to say about, well, everything.
But the pieces we’ve collected for you this month simmer with motion, bursting with excitement at the physical. They itch to explore the crevices and planes of the body and its place. Victor Omojola cracks the illusion of virtual height, and Elia Zhang laments a digital love. Tarini Krishna marvels at the writing folded in the bathroom of Hungarian, and Becky Miller at the vibrant characters on Broadway. Sophie Poole yearns to claim the sanctity of the body on the streets, and Sylvie Epstein the space to move freely among friends. Even Verily Veritas wonders how better he can care for his environment, perhaps inspired by Elizabeth, while Chloë tests us on campus living and convention at Columbia. Lilly Cao sprawls our gorgeous city on the skirt of a dancer, and Maya Weed imagines our school in three ballets.
Most of all, what we all could use after this year is a good chuckle, and our writers have delivered. Enjoy two heartfelt At Two Swords’ Lengths: Sam Needleman with Lyla Trilling, first-timer Daniel Seizer with departing senior Gabe Garon. Peruse a spoof conversation between Michael Colton and a CCE representative and an ever-insightful letter from Dante. I folded Chloë and Verily into my metaphor, but really, they’re there for the laughs. We all deserve a few.
As you read this issue, savor the space we’ll share this coming fall. I write to you in a moment of tremendous excitement about what life in the hustle and bustle of campus has to offer once more. There’s little my words can say that my body could not, were I in the basement of St. Paul’s to thank this group for their collective commitment across thousands of miles to this publication, so I’ll say this: Death to the ban on hugs. Enjoy.