Even though I’ve been anticipating its return ever since late September, I find that I must still re-orient myself to summer, or rather to my world in summer. The vibrant light of the longer days, the heat, and the change in pace sometimes render the familiar slightly strange. The stories and essays of this issue each touch on that phenomenon in varying ways. As he completes an anthropological homework assignment, a boy begins to see his family in an entirely different light in Lauren Watel’s “Happiness Sucks.” Chaitali Sen’s “The Immigrant” presents Dhruv, an Indian working and traveling in the United States, trying to locate himself among the many cultures he encounters. In Robert Yune’s quirkily dystopic “Cottontails,” an ambitious woman working in the field of product placement seeks to plant memory and desire in the mind of a college football player, who begins to have trouble recognizing what is real and what has been imagined for him. Engaged to her longtime boyfriend but in love with one of her teammates, tennis player Digby must imagine a life without her true love at the center of it in Erika Seay’s “The Great Barrier Reef.” Kelley Clink’s essay “Surfacing” examines the disorienting world of grief after her brother’s suicide, and the even more unrecognizable world when her grief begins to subside. Jessamyn Hope writes about the bizarre micro culture of bargain-wedding-dress shopping at Filene’s Basement, made more unsettling by the absence of her mother, and facing the long years ahead without her in “The Running of the Brides.” And one of this year’s AWP Intro Journals Project winners in creative nonfiction, Karen Maner, takes a second look at one of the most ordinary acts—owning a pet—and asks some uncomfortable questions in “Hugo.”
Whether you are a longtime subscriber or new to Colorado Review, I hope you’ll find yourself transported someplace new and delightfully unfamiliar by the fine work in this issue.
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In northern Colorado, spring comes late and turns into summer almost immediately. We have feet of snow at the beginning of May, but by the end of the month, the sun feels closer, and it sits longer in the sky. One can, quite literally, watch the snow melt, revealing grass at its greenest, grass that, by late June, will barely be alive. Though organized alphabetically, the poetry in this summer issue reverses and elongates this seasonal trajectory. Brent Armendinger ushers us into the issue with “Moss [that] takes hold / inside a tree,” and Sarah Vap leads us out by way of her “Winter: Aphorims,” in which “the trees holding themselves / aloof from the snow-covered ground until bending, bending / broke at it.” It is an accident, but a happy one, as it reminds us that winter is as much the fulfillment of summer’s promise as summer is of winter’s. Or neither is the fulfillment of the other. The poetry in this issue is not afraid of that possibility either, and it doesn’t shy away from reminding us that we might just have it all wrong. As Heather Christle writes in “I Am Glad of Your Arrival,” “Addressing the morning I say / It was good of you to come / as if / it were the sole visitor amidst scandal / when in fact / it has been endless / with the trees.” It was, in fact, good of you to come, and I hope you might find some summer (or winter) moments in which to enjoy this issue.
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