Issue #11 ~ Spring 2023
Winter here in Nebraska held on through March but now that it’s April, you can feel that a much-needed change is afoot. The sun climbs a little higher in the sky each day and there have definitely been fewer clouds to obscure the blue. To top it, the temps have taken a turn for the better and those reliable spring bulbs are poking their spears of green through thawing soil and freshly spread mulch. It all feels pretty good… and worthy of extra cheer, which is exactly what I’m aiming at with this note–a little happy dance to celebrate the start of our fourth year in the lit mag business and the release of our 11th issue. Huzzah!
In my last letter, I touched on the theme of connectedness and between then and now, those of us on the team that traveled to Seattle for our first annual AWP conference definitely had a healthy dose. What a wild ride that was! It’s one thing to communicate back and forth with contributing authors via email, but meeting in person is something altogether different and very rewarding. Of course, we also met many, many new people who chatted with us about the journal and what we are aiming to accomplish (as we encouraged them to send their writing our way). Zipping back and forth from panel talks to the book fair was quite an adventure and the excitement in the air at readings and book signings was palpable. We ended the conference enthusiastically discussing the possibilities for Kansas City in 2024.
Another thing that meeting in person provides is a deeper recognition that each submission is much more than just a name and manuscript to consider. It is a reflection and exploration of our environment and culture, and how we see ourselves and our relationships within the ecosystems that surround us. These reflections are often raw and vulnerable but the desire to create and connect is inherent and when we share, it’s worthy of conversation and celebration.
I am, therefore, excited to cheer on eighteen writers and artists who contributed work to our 11th issue beginning with feature poet, William Trowbridge, whose ninth poetry collection, Call Me Fool (Red Hen Press), was released last fall. Bill is the former Poet Laureate of Missouri and over 550 of his poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks. We are honored to have his poem, “War Time, 1942” in this issue alongside work from Sara Burge, Ellen June Wright, Patricia Aya Williams, Tania Runyan, and Eric Lochridge.
We are also pleased to have another fabulous essay from returning TGLR contributor, Christi Krug. Christi is one of the people I was fortunate enough to meet at AWP, which was lovely. The distinct voice and engaging descriptions in her writing make “Nocturnal Lagophthalmos” a definite must-read. Other CNF essays contained within the virtual pages of this issue include “The Heart and Other Organs” by Nancy Jorgensen and a unique list essay, “The Truth About My Old Haunts” by Elizabeth Collis.
In the fiction department we have a short story, “Roger and Flight 8124” by Dustin Moon, a timely and, might I add, intense flash piece, “Good Friday” by author Richard Stimac, and two micro fictions by Lauren Dennis.
As it has been since Issue #4, we are also featuring visual art from individuals who sent work they want to share with more people. The photograph used in the cover was sent to us by Aidan Furey of Belfast, Ireland. Aiden submitted his brother Andrew’s work to honor him and get more work into the public domain after Andrew passed away in April of 2022. Andrew was an abstract/nature photographer. Other pieces in this issue were provided by Shrishti Tassin, Vian Borchert, and Beth Horton.
Putting together each of these issues would not be possible without the time and effort of our all-volunteer team, now 24 strong and hailing from coast to coast across the US. I can’t help but feel fortunate for the opportunity to work with such a great group of people and also continue to connect with faculty and students from our shared MFA program at the University of Nebraska.
These past three years have been quite a journey and learning experience. While the future is always uncertain, I am positive that we will continue to strive to provide a beautiful and inclusive platform to showcase the work of writers and artists who have shared the fruits of their labor with us. I am also looking forward to working with the judges of this year’s Honeybee Prize: Roxane Gay, Rodrigo Toscano, and Hugh Reilly.
If you are reading and want a chance to share your work with these fine people, there’s still time. The window for submissions closes on April 30th and all the details can be found on our contest page.
To all of our contributing writers, thank you for trusting us with your valuable words. To our readers, thank you for supporting independent journals and believing in the literary arts. I hope you enjoy what this issue has to offer and that you will return again!
That’s it for Issue #11, Spring 2023.
Cheers to Crocus and Daffodil and that Whole Spring Thing,