- Editor's Note
It is both a pity and a blessing that many staff positions of the Red Cedar Review, particularly the senior editing positions, are transitory from year to year. Rarely does any senior staff member stay in their position as prose or poetry or managing editor for more than two consecutive years, if that. When your entire staff is comprised of college undergraduates who are constantly moving on to new platforms of life, this is inevitable; it's just too bad that most managing editors only get to oversee one issue of the journal before having to entrust to someone else the welfare of what has essentially become his or her "baby." Change, however, is ultimately a good thing. I believe the Red Cedar Review would not have had as long and diverse a life as it has without a continual flux of voices and opinions. We should strive not to replicate the past, but to simultaneously preserve and transcend it; it was in this spirit that the issue you hold in your hands was created.
To my knowledge, this is the first issue in the history of the Red Cedar Review to exclusively publish college undergraduate contributors. This is a radical departure from the journal's past, in which everyone from professional working authors to prison inmates have sent in their work for review; and, truly, this has contributed greatly to the journal's rich history. It was thanks to this broad method that the Red Cedar Review has had the privilege of publishing works by famously talented writers such as Pablo Neruda, Jim Harrison, and Margaret Atwood, to name only a few. The decision this year to accept submissions exclusively from college undergrads across the country raised more than a few eyebrows, to say the least. This issue also marks the first edition of the journal to intentionally include the genre of visual art alongside literature. Photography and other select artwork has always had a scattered, here-and-there sort of presence in the Red Cedar Review, [End Page 1] but this year we have finally made it official, sending out submission calls for all types of undergraduate-produced art and recruiting a jury of MSU art students to review them.
Many of us on the staff, myself included, had moments of serious doubt that the journal could be produced using only undergraduate submissions. The artistic and literary youth of America, no matter how creative, diverse, and enthusiastic they may be, are—let's face it—more prone to bad writing and bad art than the older generations of greater experience. As an aspiring artist and writer myself, I may say this with personal certainty. We are prone to typos and grammatical errors. We are prone to certain traps and dead ends of narrative and certain clichés in poetry. We are prone to make paintings and take photographs that seem to be missing something. And really, on a general level, it only makes sense. We are young, we are still learning. We have only recently found our artistic and literary feet to stand on— it will be some time before we are able to run without ever stumbling. Why, then, did the Red Cedar Review make such an effort in this issue to publish only young writers and artists who are still getting used to their feet?
It is because, as apt as many young creators may be to make formal mistakes, they are also the first ones to look to when you want to find new life and inspiration in art.
The pulse of a generation is visible in these pages. From poem to prose to painting and photograph, we see the vibrant, burgeoning expression of evolving artists and writers across the country, the young men and women who will go on to become the Nerudas and Harrisons and Atwoods of tomorrow. Last year, as the Red Cedar Review celebrated its 47th anniversary, we took a long, retrospective look back on our decades of rich history. This year, we went looking for a new future in art and literature, a new youth and revitalization, and we found it.
It has been...