Years ago, the Editor's Note in an issue of a fine literary journal began:

Some readers take comfort in literary labels. They want the boundaries of prose clearly mapped: novel, novella, short story short short, tale, fable memoir personal essay and so forth. This anthology contains all of the above, the entire spectrum from fable to fact. But they are not labeled as such. Some will be easily recognizable, others will be harder to tag: fact or fiction? The idea is to invite the reader to experience the full range of the prose herein and to speculate on the author's intent, the narrator's relationship to the author, and actuality. Mix up the genres a bit. Break down the walls of the labels, of obsessive-compulsive classification and division.

Are you one of these readers? One who prefers to speculate? Though there are many people who might not mind doing so, we find it a bit uncomfortable. And yes, that probably gives us obsessive-compulsive status when it comes to literature. Optimally, we'd like to know, right out of the gate, what we're diving into. Fact? Fiction?

Of course, there is always that concept of blending one with the other; better fiction will summon interesting and relevant facts throughout, and better nonfiction will provide embellishment and ambiguity while visiting actual circumstance. But in the end, or shall we say the beginning, we want to know the underlying platform.

We've made a few changes in technical policy with this Fall 2009 issue. You might say "big deal" as you read this, but for us who are passionate at providing work in the best manner possible, the changes did not come without undue deliberation. Perhaps you will find all of this simply funny.

For one, instead of referring to each piece as a story, essay, or poem, it is now being categorized as fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. This was caused by "Rape Me Barbie," a short nonfiction piece released in this issue, which, for some reason, seemed odd to represent as an essay. Read it and see if you can spot—or to use the verb above, speculate—why.

We also changed the convention of the spelling of O.K. to okay. Again, this decision came with much sweat and insomnia. The former spelling was used to respect an entire article written about the word in The New Yorker years ago. (And we have little doubt one of our dedicated readers will write to us now, citing the exact issue.) Okay seems more like a word and just visually flows better, we've come to realize. Although we don't like the word very much, we're happy with this decision.

Big deal, right? These changes are simply things you don't care about? Or maybe you would say, "Well, fine, you do what you need to, as long as you keep giving us the beautiful and excellent."

Okay, then. Here you go. We hope you enjoy the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in our Fall 2009 issue. Thank you for reading and tolerating our obsessive-compulsive nature.

We have two Lit Picks of the Quarter this time, one being very short fiction published in the 30th Anniversary Issue of Passages North, Winter/Spring 2009. It is entitled "Moon Story," by Francine Witte. We enjoyed the great moon metaphor in this piece, and a voice which grew to give more and more of the situation, slowly, yet still in as little as 250 words. The story begins

When she was little, she thought the moon was an egg. A round one. But an egg. Each month, when the moon was full, she would wait for it to crack open and drop its slimy yolk into the sky.

Our other Lit Pick is a much longer story, appearing in the 2009 Southern Lit issue of Oxford American, entitled "The Invitation," by Barb Johnson. The setting is a laundromat called The Bubble, nestled in a drug-riddled area of the South, the main characters women lovers. Resentment, hope, love, and charity are blended to give us an endearing glimpse of lives here, making us want to be a part of an anniversary celebration. An excerpt -

I'm watching the party from the loft. Fragments of conversation float up to me like messages from a collective unconscious. The strings of bright lanterns inside The Bubble look like highways of happy, blinking light that run straight into a hopeful future. Outside, termites—Formosans—hover in clouds near the windows where they fling themselves against the glass, hungry to get at the blinking lanterns hanging over the crowd. If they could get in, they'd eat the paper shades in a second, but the hot lights would kill them for their greed. Even so, I imagine that they die happy, having gotten exactly what they wanted.

The Summerset Review
Joseph Levens - Editor
Amy Leigh Owen Associate Editor
Meredith Davies Hadaway Poetry Editor
Lindsay Denninger Assistant Editor
A literary journal released quarterly on the 15th of March, June, September, and December on the Internet, and periodically in print form. Founded in 2002, the journal is devoted to the review and publication of unsolicited fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

All correspondence and submissions should be emailed to Postal mailing address: 25 Summerset Drive, Smithtown, New York 11787, USA.

This publication is made possible, in part, with grants from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), a state agency. We are very thankful for the support and encouragement these organizations have given our journal and the literary community.

The Summerset Review is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in New York State.

Republication or redistribution of any material on this web site should not be done without permission from the originator.

ISSN 1933-7175

Theme graphics: "Divided We Fall" Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2009.