Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Mississippi Review issue online

The first phase of my guest-edited issue of the Mississippi Review is online now. The theme is Location/Dislocation and I was completely overwhelmed with submissions. I had expected a couple of hundred, and ended up with far more than that. So many, in fact, that there will be a print edition in the Fall. In the meantime I've posted a baker's dozen or so including:

Stevan Allred, Daphne Beal, Raul Correa, Sean Ennis, Amanda Gersh, Cynthia Gralla, Emer Martin, Jan Meissner, Lincoln Michel, Joanna Pearson, Marian Pierce, Felicia Sullivan, Pragya Trivedi and Suzy Vitello.

Some of these are writers whose work I had encountered before, some I knew nothing about at all. But in each case the stories really knocked me out. Among the surprises: Emer Martin's excerpt about refugee children sent to live among plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills; Raul Correa's memoir of life as a soldier for hire in Iraq; Cynthia Gralla's meltdown in Bangkok; Felicia Sullivan's story of a birthday robbery; and Suzy Vitello's children at play in an attic. But then I'd be leaving out Amanda Gersh's South African sea monkeys, Sean Ennis's au pair, and well...everyone else.

The difficulty was in reading so many submissions that were competent but didn't really fit the theme at all. In fact, a surprising number of entries had no sense of place at all, or the place was needlessly exotic, or the exotic was represented merely by the fact that the natives don't speak English. But I think that's what inspired me to choose this theme: it seems that a sense of place--and its effects on character--are too often missing from writing today.

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