Editor's Note

Saturday, July 15, 2023

I’ve been thinking about nuclear semiotics recently.  

In college, I attended a heavily-promoted John D’Agata reading, in support of his newly released About a Mountain. D’Agata spoke about Yucca Mountain, a nuclear waste repository some eighty miles outside Las Vegas. Scientists and linguists were tasked with creating a warning sign that would last as long as the nuclear waste remains radioactive, 10,000 years in the future, when it is unlikely any contemporary languages will exist. I recall the solution was to create basalt pillars, etched with Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” face, arranged in such a way that when the wind blew, it would create a D minor chord, creating an air of melancholy. These sounds and symbols worked together to provoke trepidation at an instinctual level. As a young English major with an anxiety disorder, this image made an impression on me. While fact-checking this memory, I found I synthesized multiple solutions. I misremembered information from thirteen years ago, which is nowhere close to the 10,000 needed to communicate in this example. It has left me with a question: How do we leave something for the future? 

This is my last issue as managing editor of TriQuarterly. Not to mix metaphors, but I am ready to pass the torch to Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. I’ve tried to keep up the momentum set by my managing editor predecessors Aram Mrjoian and Carrie Muehle. I am proud to work with a team dedicated to publishing writing that converses with readers. We strived to create issues that recall the past, but speak to our future.

The stories in Issue 164 are ethereal, haunting, and cautioning. A young couple searches for a symbol confirming their impending marriage in Ben Loory’s “The White Bird of the Forest,” while a dead woman possesses her ex-husband in “After I Become a Ghost” by Jessie Ren Marshall. Mary Hawley’s translations of Juan Carlos Mestre’s poems read like nuanced liturgies, while Ryley O'Byrne’s video essay titled “Liturgies” forces the viewer to kneel at the altar of technology. Poet Kathleen Radigan reminds us, “rat will outlast us” in the end.  

We feature a suite of prose poems in this issue by Richard Siken, Jose Hernandez Diaz, Vikram Masson, and Corey Zeller, pieces that shed form entirely. They are balanced by Sayuri Ayers’s essay on the movements of the lyric essay, harkening back to some of my favorite archival issues on craft and form like Issue 19: For Edward Dahlberg and Issue 38: In the wake of the Wake, all pushing for the acceleration of language. 

In my first editor’s letter I wrote, “We can never live up to this journal’s history, but rather, are contributing to this journal’s future.” This editorial team has done just that. Whether it’s long-term nuclear waste warning messages or an easily accessible archive, there is no guarantee our message will endure, but thanks to these writers and this staff, I am fortunate to be a part of this now. 


— Joshua Bohnsack
Managing Editor, TriQuarterly 

Managing Editor: Joshua Bohnsack
Assistant Managing Editor: Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
Faculty Advisor: Susan Harris
Director of Planning: Reginald Gibbons 
Northwestern Assistant Director in Creative Writing: Colin Thomas Pope
Social Media Editor: Emily Mirengoff
Film Editor: Sarah Minor
Fiction Editors: Patrick Bernhard, Jennifer Companik, Laura Joyce-Hubbard, Emily Mirengoff, Mariah Rigg
Nonfiction Editor: Starr Davis
Poetry Editor: Daniel Fliegel
Copy Editor: Lys Ann Weiss
Technology Director: Ken Panko
Technical Advisors: Rodolfo Vieira, Natalie Roman, Vince LaGrassa, Orzu Tursunova

Staff: Ally Ang, Amanda Dee, Amanda Vitale, Ashton Carlile, Becky Payne, Christopher Lombardom Corey Miller, Dane Hamann, Ellen Hainen, Emma Fuchs, Erika Carey, George Abraham, Gillian Barth, Holly Stovall, Ivis Whitright, Jackson McGrath, Jameka Williams, Jeremy Wilson, Jonathan Jones, Katana Smith, Kathryn O'Day, Liz Howey, Lydia Abedeen, Marcella Mencotti, Marissa Higgins, May Dugas, Megan Sullivan, Michaela Ritz, Michele Popadich, Morgan Eklund, Nimra Chohan, Puck Orabel, Rebecca van Laer, Salwa Halloway, Surya Milner, Susan Lerner, Suzanne Scanlon


Saturday, July 15, 2023