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From the Editors

Introduction to the Fall/Winter 1998 Issue

Creating a new issue of a literary journal is something akin to landscaping in that we have a limited space within which to work and more beautiful gems of poetry, fiction and non-fiction than we can possibly place. A daunting task, to be sure, yet one that fills the editors with satisfaction in that some of these works you find before you are by poets and authors never before published, and we are pleased to have them sown into this landscape that makes up this, our first fall issue now that we have gone semi-annual.

In this issue, we were lucky enough to have poet Walt McDonald judge our poetry contest and author/poet Stephen Dobyns serve in the same capacity in fiction. (It should be noted that our newly created Willamette Award in Poetry and Fiction will be an annual affair with a deadline of June 1; winners will be determined by alternating judges each year, and the winners will be published in the fall issue.)

Mr. McDonald's choice for the winning poem is Vivian Shipley's deeply evocative "Driving with My Father in Winter Park, Florida" which explores the depth of the relationships we have with our parents, the poetry of their lives we may have never noticed, and our responsibility to celebrate that. Here it might be mentioned that all of our readers, whether they be authors or not, might do well to read Mr. McDonald's eloquent essay on the craft of writing poetry, one that is applicable to writing fiction and non-fiction as well, for in his essay Mr. McDonald not only allows us a glimpse of his poetics, but the essay also serves as a context for which to view both his poems and others' published in these pages. Besides, what he writes is simply good advice.

Surprisingly, without choosing work by theme, we amassed poetry which wraps itself around the sense of father and child, of our stories as families, who we are, who we have become, and, in some cases, how we are evolving as we face the loss of our parents. Some powerful poems to take note of are "HaIf Time," a touching poem by Virgil Suárez which moves gracefully through the history of the relationship of a father and son; "Sorting Through Sister" wherein Verlena Orr explores the depth of two sisters' relationship under the residue of passing generations; and "Anniversary Visit," Ed Byrne's eloquent return to the birth of love that has woven two lives together.

Again, we have achieved what we hope to do in all our issues which is to place strong, experienced voices next to those new and emerging voices from around the country. It is a pleasure to have such fine work by poets Alberto Rios, Gary Thompson, James Hoggard, Diane Averill and Mr. Byrne. And if there are unfamiliar names in this list, we say, get out and buy their work. Next to poets of such stature are new voices such as Laura Lee Washburn; Oliver Francisco de la Paz; and Kevin Sullivan whose first published poem appears. We're glad to host such talent.

In these pages, you will be asked to stop and consider your own past actions as does a boy who is peripherally involved in a shooting in Stephen Dobyns' fine story "Kansas." You may, indeed, consider the nature of love as you read Rick Christman's "Listening from the Beginning"; and in reading Alberto Rios' "The Orange-woman, the Walnut-girl," you will witness a master at work as the male writer Rios writes in the voice of a marginalized girl. Suh-Jung Lee, a woman now working on her MFA, writes in the voice of a young male Mexican who seeks the American Dream only to find himself marginalized in a whole other fashion. "The Day of the Dead" is her first published story.

Along side these stories are others that the reader will find compelling including "The Leopard Skin," the story chosen by Mr. Dobyns as this year's contest winner. Lionel de Maine's story is set in Africa and told through the voice of a young boy who in coming of age learns something surprising about his father. Closing our fiction in this issue is "Smoke," a new story by Bret Anthony Johnston. Similar to de Maine's story in that a young boy sees his father in a new light, Johnston's young narrator learns something wholly and horribly different.

We are we grateful once again for the work of Oregon painter Mark Andres whose oil on canvas landscape "Nehalem" serves as our cover, and we are also pleased to include the work of Oregon poets and authors. This issue features the varied and resonant voices of Paulann Petersen, Carlos Reyes, Verlena Orr and Diane Averill. While we find it important to represent our state's writing community, it comes as a representation of the vitality we know exists in each state of the country. While we cannot publish everything that comes to us, we have seen from our submissions that there is a national literary community that continues to grow, and it is our desire to continue to be another landscape where upon it thrives.

Jeff Knorr and Tim Schell

Contact the Editors

Tim Schell
503-657-6958 ext. 2520
tims@clackamas.cc.or.us

Brad Stiles
503-657-6958 ext. 2609
brads@clackamas.cc.or.us

Kate Gray
503-657-6958 ext. 2371
kateg@clackamas.cc.or.us


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