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From the Editors

July 2001

When Jeff Knorr and I started this journal in 1997, we did not feel it necessary to form a committee to meet and discuss the creation of a mission statement. It seemed to us that the mission was obvious: create a literary journal that would publish the best literature we could find regardless of who wrote it. That was our mission then, and that is our mission now. We were fortunate not to be harassed by administrators who would want a MISSION STATEMENT written in the insipid language of administrator-speak wherein nouns become verbs and verbs, well, who needs verbs when the nouns are doing all the work?

So we do not have any mission other than to publish good literature no matter who has written it. We are not a regional journal publishing work about some nebulous geographic enclave by those who are so blessed to dwell within its borders; we are not a thematically-inspired journal wherein the editors superimpose a theme upon a writer for that so often produces the worst in fiction and poetry; and, we are not an agenda-driven journal championing une cause du jour. CLR’s sole raison d’être is simple: the publication of good work by anyone who writes it.

We have published fiction, non-fiction and poetry by artists you will have read before, writers such as Naomi Shihab Nye, Ron Carlson, Virgil Suárez, Peter Ho Davies, Valerie Miner, Stephen Dobyns, Tess Gallagher, Alberto Rios, Marilyn Chin, David Kranes, Walt McDonald, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Melissa Pritchard and by many other men and women whose names ring familiar. And maybe more importantly, we have published work by artists who have not yet emerged as they are still cocooned in their very earliest professional years. We had the honor of publishing the short story “The Day of the Dead” by Suh-Jung Lee who was an MFA student at the time of publication. Upon being contacted and told that we wanted to publish her story, she wrote back that she would be forever indebted to CLR for publishing her first story. We have published first works by many writers and poets, and it is the most satisfying part of the job of editor. Ms. Lee’s story was in the same issue as “Kansas” a story by Stephen Dobyns that was selected for 1999 Best American Short Stories, and the result of this search for good work is this melding of new and established writers under one cover.

The piles of unsolicited work we receive in the mail are overwhelming evidence to the number of men and women who are undertaking the rigorous pursuit of the art of literature. It is so often a thankless quest, and sometimes we editors are of no help for we cannot personally respond to all of those who send us work. But trust this: we respect all of these writers’ efforts and their crusade to uncover some truth of the heart. Our job as editors is to cull and cull and cull in our efforts to recognize the good work we seek so that we can give it the forum it so deserves.

Now, as our fifth anniversary approaches, we bid goodbye to Jeff Knorr who has moved on; we will miss him and his expertise very much. And at the same time we welcome Brad Stiles and Kate Gray as new co-editors whom I have the pleasure of working along side. Mr. Stiles has been editing CLR since fall 2000, and Ms. Gray joins CLR in the summer of 2001. Together, we hope to continue publishing good work by good people. That, then, is our mission.

Tim Schell

Contact the Editors

Brad Stiles
503-657-6958 ext. 2609

Kate Gray
503-657-6958 ext. 2371

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