Fall 2017 (Volume 21, Issue I)



It’s an honor to share with you my first issue as editor of a journal I’m proud to say is now one generation — many seasons — old. As I write during the turn of winter to spring, when pools pinhole the frozen lakes, the theme of change occupies my mind. Reading through the newest incarnation of this journal, I wonder: What can writing change?

The pleasure of writing, for myself, and, hopefully others, lies in its ability to help us reconceive our beliefs about the figures and things in our lives. Wildlife we think we’ve domesticated over the centuries, for instance, may not be what it’s always seemed. “All pets are imposters,” according to Andrew Szilvasy. Writing also has the power to subvert age-old symbols; Elizabeth Kerlikowske describes cleaning lightbulbs that don’t look like ideas.

Let’s also see writing, then, as a testing ground for invention — for fresh situations and ideas. How about Michael Bartelt’s proposing Walt Whitman as moderator of the presidential debate? And how would it feel to lord over a package of miniature people? Johnathan Greenhouse explores.

Through such explorations, writing portrays new states of being. Catherine Anderson movingly conceives of injury as “a public stillness held inside.” And in another look at injury, we find imaginative ways to manage pain when it surfaces. Petra Kuppers fashions a protagonist faced with a decision on breast-cancer treatment who takes a rejuvenating dream-swim with a troll.

What we seek then, through literature, is a means of perceiving anew — the daily, the safe, the hopeless, the dormant, the tiny. May you experience, many times over in reading this issue, what John F. Buckley deems “a mouselint epiphany.”

Tanya Muzumdar

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