How to follow a legacy of editorial excellence?
Issue 157 marks my first issue as TriQuarterly’s managing editor. Prior, I spent two years as the assistant managing editor, learning from the leadership, generosity, meticulous attention to detail, and indefatigable literary spirit of Carrie Muehle. Carrie was, and remains, the kind of editor I aspire to be. If you look through our recent archives (153-156), you’ll see how Carrie masterfully curated each issue to tell a story. She cares immensely about every poem, story, essay, and video we publish, and I was regularly awed by her encyclopedic knowledge of our contributors and their work. These are the proverbial big shoes to fill. With the magazine going on more than sixty years of continuous publication, Carrie has certainly—and forgive the pun—carried forward TriQuarterly’s longstanding reputation, and we’re very lucky she has decided to stay on our staff as part of our fiction team. Her guidance is invaluable.
Our contributors in this issue too leave me in awe. Dane Hamann’s poetry selections include nearly a dozen new works from literary legends Ed Roberson and Angela Jackson, whose work together anchors a theme of memory across genres throughout the issue. Both Roberson and Jackson reference ghosts, not for the sake of imagery but rather as metaphorical conduits to the fears of forgetting, losing sight of the personal or collective past, and the knowledge we struggle to retain or pass on as we age. In his erasure poem, “MY MOSQUE IS THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR OWNED BY YOUR NEIGHBOR IMRAN THE IMAM,” Dujie Tahat conceals the vast majority of “U.S. Constitution. Article 2. Section 1,” which establishes executive power to the President of the United States. What Tahat gains by taking much of the text away turns the President’s Oath of Affirmation on its head.
Our prose selections also reveal themes of memory, inheritance, and the erosive complexities of misrecognizing our past. Molly Gutman’s short story, “Time and Oranges,” considers the unraveling of time of space, but also what lengths we’ll walk to cover up trauma and protect the ones we love. Morgan Talty’s “The Blessing Tobacco” tackles the loss of memory more directly, but in doing so finds a more complicated transmission of identity across generations. Our three essay selections vary in style, but are connected by their sense of recovery: advocating to save a misunderstood species on the verge of extinction, calling out the hypocrisies of who walks free and who remains imprisoned in the age of mass incarceration, and investigating the false memories of youth.
The editorial changing of the guard comes with its reimaginings as well. While Carrie could always weave together poetry and prose to fit a macrocosmic arc, I am perhaps more linear and boring, so my largest divergence has been to organize Issue 157 by genre. This eases my mind as I try to work past my own fallible memory, but I hope our readers find it useful in navigating the issue.
I am nothing as an editor if not always learning. My goal is to give our readers and contributors the same attention, patience, and brilliance as TriQuarterly’s past editors. Fortunately, I am not alone in this. I am extremely grateful that I get to collaborate with an incredible staff as well as talented artists, poets, and prose writers who fill me with humility.
Staff: Adam Lizakowski, Andrea Garcia, Anne-Marie Akin, Bonnie Etherington, Caitlin Garvey, Dan Fliegel, Devin O'Shea, Ellen Hainen, Erica Hughes, Erika Carey, Freda Love Smith, Hillary Pelan, Jayme Collins, Jen Lawrence, Jen Companik, Jenn Hipps, Jeremiah Barker, Jonathan Jones, Joshua Bohnsack, Laura Joyce-Hubbard, Madina Jenks, Marcella Mencotti, Megan Sullivan, Miranda Garbaciak, ML Chan, Myra Thompson, Natalia Nebel, Natalie Rose Richardson, Nathan Renie, Pascale Bishop, Patrick Bernhard, Rishee Batra, Salwa Halloway, Sara Connell, Tara Stringfellow