Friday, November 25, 2005
i had the opportunity recently to guest edit natural bridge the literary journal here in the mfa program at university of missouri-st. louis. i've editied a number of other journals, but this was my first experience editing within a literary editing classroom setting with graduate students. the literary editing class was initially daunting becaue i wasn't quite sure how to 'share' the decision making. and as the term progressed, that continued to be a challenge. i soon learned though, that this process was old hat to most of these students. they are serious about the task and all business about the matter of reading and selecting. little by little, i think i was able to think less about my 'control' of the process and function there as a mentor. my contributions to their process included acting as a guide, to encourage them to open their eyes a bit, to not go for the obvious kind of work, to think a bit outside the literary box, so to speak.
we worked under a theme for this issue: fragment and sequence. if you click on the theme, it will take you to my introduction. the theme is a wonderful rubric through which to solicit, read, and evaluate work. we have work in this issue by sapphire, denise duhamel, beckian fritz goldber, timothy liu, rigoberto gonzalez, ross gay, allison stack, tayari jones, ayse papatya bucek, camile dungy, and muzban f. shroff to name just a very few.
editing a journal is always an uphill battle, but i think my students handled the task with the greatest professionalism. i'm proud of this issue. i'm proud of the risks they've taken and the work they've found.
the amazing artwork that graces the cover is from a series of collaborations betwen the poet and painter ross gay and the painter kim thomas. you can see more of their collaborations by going here.
you can preview the issue, find out more about natural bridge, and get information on how to subscribe and submit by going here. you'll be able to read the introduction to this issue as well as read a few selections. happy reading!