Years ago, every once in a while a happy bit of fortune would cross my way as I roamed a bookshop. I would find in a used book bin, sometimes one quite large, a collection of old literary magazines, stacked together, often a set of issues published from the same university. When this happened, I gobbled up the entire group and my reading queue for the next month or so was secured.
These days, such a thing is not as likely to happen, though recently I stumbled on the virtual equivalent: I found a group of used magazines available for purchase online from the same independent seller. The magazine was Hayden's Ferry Review, and over the course of the last few months, intermingled with many of life's obligations, I was engrossed in material published by Arizona State University in the early 1990s.
Though there was much to enjoy in the stack, one particular portion of an issue stood out, and made me think. And isn't that what literature is supposed to do? In this case it was an interview with the poet Andrew Hudgins, from Issue 16, 1995. The interview segment read as follows:
HFR: I hear through reliable sources that you're both a quilter and a gardener. There are a number of gardening poems in your earlier books, and there's a quilting poem in the new one. But besides providing material for your poems, what effect do these activities have on your writing?
AH: If I thought I was doing those things to write about them, I'd blow my brains out. That's backwards. That's living your life so that you'll have something to write about. Do you fall in love with the subject matter? Well, we all know people like that, don't we? People who do that have miserable lives (consider the poets of the fifties) and they should have miserable lives so they can serve as a reminder to the rest of us to get the order right: horse first, then cart; life first, then art.
This viewpoint stopped me in my tracks. I can't say I ever really disagreed with such an opinion. I was, though, very hesitant to admit this view to others whose lives were dominated by everything writing, or mention it at clubs and classes. It is quite a profound thought, and will not go over well with those whose passion for writing drives their lives.
We'd be interested in your view on this. Cast your thoughts by sending them to the email address on our submissions page.
We wish to congratulate the following contributors this past year whose work appearing here has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize:
Todd Davis, Winter 2019 (poetry)
Shawna Ervin, Fall 2018 (poetry)
Justin Fenech, Spring 2018 (fiction)
John R. Murray, Fall 2018 (nonfiction)
Jessamine Price, Summer 2018 (poetry)
Gina Willner-Pardo, Spring 2018 (fiction)
We hope our Winter 2019 selections do not disappoint. Every one of our issues is crafted with passion and love, things we've found to muster despite being actively involved in jobs and family and whatever else. We hope that these other parts of our lives in no way detract from the quality of this product. Without Summerset, though our lives may still go on, they would not be filled with as much color.
In this issue, you will come across a new writer among us. Ashley Jeanne Harris has a first publication here, a nonfiction piece about archaeology and pueblo studies in the Southwest. Ann S. Epstein visits an interesting and possibly shocking underside of young immigrants to the U.S. in the World War II era. The author Bill Cook returns with a short piece titled "Melons." The previous piece of his that ran here, in 2008, went on to garner further awards.
These are just a few samples of the wonderful writing we have been fortunate to discover in our inbox this quarter. We hope you enjoy them all, and we wish you a happy holiday and safe and prosperous 2019.
Joseph and the Staff
Theme graphics this issue - 'T.N.T.'
Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2018.