“My father told me to do what I loved to do — one third of my life
will be work.”
—Emily Mohn-Slate, “Needlework”
I haven’t wanted to write this foreword. I haven’t wanted to offer the kind of perfunctory sentiments that are often included in these prefatory remarks—how an issue reflects the great scope and breadth of contemporary writing, how it pushes boundaries and defies expectations, how it restores one’s faith in art’s capacity to challenge and inspire.
Instead, I am going to offer some sincerity and humility. I want to express my gratitude for the poems, stories and essays I got to read, think about on walks, and discuss with my other editors. I won’t name any specifically (aside from the one quoted epigraphically above) because that’s not the point I want to make. What I’m expressing reminds me of what a friend retorted to my complaints about graduate school and its stresses—We get to be here.
I thought about what my friend exclaimed as I padded over to my computer each evening this winter to read what the world on the other side of Submittable had sent us. I thought about what my friend exclaimed as I put copies of the poems, stories and essays that were the editorial staff’s favorites into envelopes at a local post office addressed to Tracy K. Smith and Adam Johnson. We get to read Smith’s poetry, her memoir. We get to read Johnson’s stories and novels.
And, now, you are about to read the new issue of Tupelo Quarterly. I won’t say that you get to read the issue because that sounds snotty, like you are lucky to read some product of editorial genius. That’s not what I mean. I will say, however, that there is much beauty in these poems, stories, essays and visuals, so much wisdom. There is much that will make the complaints, the stresses, fall away. There is much that will afford a bit of clarity, as I was afforded.
So, thank you for reading the new issue, and welcome. The gate has been open, has been waiting.