It is truly an honor to introduce issue eleven of Tupelo Quarterly. In addition to featuring new work by Mary Jo Bang, Dean Young, Kathleen Peirce, Meredith Stricker, and many others, we’re thrilled to celebrate the winner, finalists, and semifinalists of our recent contest.
This issue, we were fortunate enough to have the forward-thinking Darcie Dennigan as judge for our poetry competition. In a literary landscape filled with so much sameness, I was heartened by Darcie’s commitment to innovation, and her desire to recognize and honor work that may not fit within the all-too-neat genre categories of other venues. Centered around the broad theme of “Call and Response,” our competition welcomed submissions of poems of all styles, collaborations, performance scripts, and hybrid texts. We are delighted to bring you work that reflects a variety of aesthetic predilections, ranging from the luminous prose of Eva Heisler to the fractured elegy of Kyle McCord and Kelli Russell Agodon & Martha Silano’s co-authored lyric, in which a glorious “third voice” emerges from their artistic exchange.
As always, the issue is so much richer for the diverse aesthetics of our Senior and Associate Editors, who have generously solicited and introduced work in our “Editors’ Selections” section, in addition to contributing interviews and other features. In a discussion curated by Senior Editor Ming Di, Yolanda Castaño states of her ongoing engagement with other poets’ work: “we can each dream to be a different poet from who we are.” It is the conversation, whether through poetry, translation, or other means, that expands one’s sense of the possible. For me, Castaño’s lovely observation encapsulates so much of the beauty of this issue. The poems, interviews, prose, visual art, and translation gathered here offer a vision of the aesthetic object as being not merely representational. For these creative practitioners, the artistic process becomes a ledger, a record of one’s movements through a larger literary and cultural landscape. With that in mind, it is a privilege to follow these writers and artists into a “forest rich with the imagined.”
Happy new year, and enjoy!