One of the many pleasures of putting a magazine together is the tendency for themes to emerge entirely unbidden. Though unplanned, this could have been a special issue called “The Parent Gap.” The fiction and nonfiction pieces gathered here all touch on the ways in which we spend our lives trying to connect (and disconnect) with our parents, engaged in a lifelong dance of clinging to, then pushing away, then coming back to them. Consider the stories: In contributing editor Robert Boswell’s “Destroy This,” two young girls, left behind for the day, embark on a simultaneously comic and harrowing journey to join their parents at the family’s mysterious new home across town. Leslie Johnson’s “Other Lives” concerns a man revisiting the pain of having grown up in the flotsam of his parents’ ruptured marriages as he comes to the realization that he will likely create a similar pain for his own son. In Shannon Cain’s “Juniper Beach,” a woman leaves everything—partner, job, dog, and home—to take an epic cross-country trip, replaying memories of her family’s quirky vacations, researching horrific crash sites along the way, and ultimately trying to work through the grief of her parents’ death. The theme continues in the essays: Discovering a rather dubious recipe his late mother had contributed to a cookbook, Floyd Skloot experiences a connection with her in the kitchen that was never possible during her lifetime. And in a lyrical and moving essay, Craig Morgan Teicher explores the difficulty of being able to write about losing his mother, to tell the story, to capture that singular grief, to ever reach her again.

Spring-issue poetry editor Donald Revell has once again selected some terrific poems. “Somehow, and now more than ever in my recall,” he writes, “springtime is a deep conversation between stillness and urgency. In every sense, there is an unspoken ultimate: ought we to live at all? Birth is brittle and birth is vital. The aftermath? Who can say? Note the ways in which Rebecca Dunham’s work contrasts with Dennis Finnell’s, the ways in which Erin Lambert’s contrasts with that of Keith Flynn. Somewhere inside those contrasts, spring begins to stir.”
Welcome to the spring issue.

Featured in This Issue

Joshua Baldwin, Bruce Bond, Robert Boswell, Julia Bouwsma, Zarah Butcher, Shannon Cain, Jeanette Clough, Julia Cohen, Mahmoud Darwish, Rebecca Dunham, Natalie Eilbert, Katherine Factor, Dennis Finnell, Keith Flynn, Joseph Holt, Lisa Isaacson, Leslie Johnson, Erin Lambert, Hank Lazer, Mariam Dubovik Lease, Mustapha Marrouchi, Joshua McKinney, Rusty Morrison, Andy Nicholson, Edward Nobles, Richard Owens, Mani Rao, Zach Savich, Floyd Skloot, Jeanne Stauffer-Merle, Kevin Stein, Craig Morgan Teicher, Sean Tribe, Marci Vogel, G. C. Waldrep, Henry Weinfield, Dean Young, Harriet Zinnes

Select Pieces from This Issue