We celebrate summer this year with the addition of poetry at The Summerset Review, and take much pride in bringing to you the pieces selected from the many we received as submissions. So, settle into your favorite chair in the sun, or shade, or sheltered from the rain. Wherever you are—perhaps even standing, waiting in line, lodged between other passengers on the subway, it doesn’t matter—fall into the poems here and enjoy the imagery and sensibility of each and every one.

We often read summaries of the work comprising a literary volume, and sometimes wonder if The Summerset Review can be summarized as having one central theme over the pieces appearing in a particular quarterly issue. There is never any theme we work toward, which influences decisions on what we choose to publish. Well, that’s not exactly true. The theme is more like a quality—we want the piece to be damn good, something that creates a lasting impression, something that might teach you a thing or two, or cause you to take some action, however big or small.

One reader recently told us a story here changed her life. Assuming this change was for the better, we can’t ask for a higher compliment, and the essence of this is what we have always set as our objective, our anthem. If you don't believe us, go back and read our Notes from the first online issue in 2002.

In trying to dig deeper and reach this theme we read about elsewhere, maybe there is something in many of the pieces of our Summer 2009 issue, something going beyond common premises of vulnerability and precariousness among main characters. Sure, these conditions engage readers and are true to the world, but we want more than this if we were to have a theme. We want solutions, encouragement, improvement. And so, we think you might find elements of hope in the material here—hope, strife, a glimmer of the summer sun.

From crises in Bosnia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and more closer to home—a sisterhood, a garden nursery, and one’s own throat—the prose in this issue gives us hints of light, and sometimes more. See if you agree.

Our Lit Pick of the Quarter this time comes from Meridian, Issue 22, where a riveting yet melancholy story by Celeste Ng appears. Entitled "We Are Not Strangers," the relationship between two young sisters is explored, seen through the voice of the older, several months after their mother has gone missing. The story remarkably blends the emotion associated to such unfortunate circumstance with the personality and childhood air these sisters portray. Here is an excerpt –

The next day is Saturday and when we wake up our father is already at the hospital, stitching C-sections closed, pushing new babies into groggy mothers' arms. Kirie shuts herself in her room for the morning and comes out with a piece of yellow construction paper. "We’ll copy it," she says. It's a poster with our mother's photo pasted in the center, only instead of "Missing" Kirie has written "LOST" in big letters at the top, as if our mother were a cat, or a bookbag, something we'd simply misplaced.

The online web site Apostrophe Cast recorded a reading of this story by the author. It is available at www.apostrophecast.com/authors/celesteng.html.

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 short stories, essays, and poetry.

All correspondence and submissions should be emailed to editor@summersetreview.org. 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

Barbara Crooker's poem, "After the Operation, I Find I Like Sleeping Alone," was originally published in 2006 in Tattoo Highway. "Walking in the Orchard with Katha Pollitt" was originally published in Triplopia, also in 2006.

Theme graphics: "Daytime Distraction" Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2009.