- Editors’ Page
Like New Year’s Eve, the onset of summer evokes plans and hopes, projects and promises. Often among them is the Summer Reading List. “This will be the summer,” we say, “when I read [insert major work you’re ashamed to admit you’ve never read].” But we might not necessarily start that list on June 1. We’ll start after the in-laws visit. Well, right after the floors get refinished. OK, just as soon as we get back from the camping trip. And before we know it, September is knocking at the front door.
One of the many things to love about a literary magazine is that it offers a generous selection of shorter works, to be savored one at a time, no shame in skipping ahead and then back again or letting some time pass between each story or essay or poem. In this issue, we bring you an assortment of new fiction. In Afsheen Farhadi’s “On the Faces of Others,” a man works to reconcile memories (perhaps unreliable) of responsibility he may or may not have taken. Fathers and sons try to reconnect as the traumas of war continue to reverberate stateside in Edward Hamlin’s “After Dreamland.” After losing her mother—and against the backdrop of her first love—a teenage girl and her family struggle through their grief and acceptance in Danielle Lazarin’s “Appetite.” And a woman restless in her comfortable relationship quite suddenly finds herself in an intimate situation with her neighbor in Dalia Rosenfeld’s “Invasions.”
Among our essays, we present Stephanie Harrison’s “What We Have Left,” recounting a contentious summer of illness, economic uncertainty, language barriers, and divorce. Wendy Rawlings looks tenderly at the shifting frames of sexual identity in “Portrait of a Family, Crooked & Straight.” And Emily Strasser comes to us with “Exposure,” an awp award–winning meditation on radiation, photography, and memory.
Read one, then another. Take a break. Embrace the heat. Then read some more. You have all summer.
—stephanie g’schwind [End Page 1]
The opening poem of this summer’s selection, “Description of a Field,” by Rennie Ament, beautifully welcomes us into the season. Summer is teeming with columbines, daisies, white roses, brook moss, clover leaf, dandelions, and wild oats. All in one poem! But there is something else afoot, or underfoot, to be more precise. The world, in all of its violence and heartache, it stickiness and fecundity, is here too: “And milk-wood broken underfoot. Sticky, leaking, seminal.” The world is beautiful with ugliness underneath, and the inverse is true too; “under the carcasses of electric fans,” G. C. Waldrep writes in “Leaving Chelmno,” “a cello measure.” In this way, the poems in this issue act as a way through the world: “then they hand you / (since they not / enough exist) the rope / of your return” (Christina Davis).
—sasha steensen [End Page 2]