In the summer’s heat, in the season of cross-country road trips, three-day-weekend visits, and family reunions, we sometimes desire a little distance from one another, a bit of space, a spot of shade. And yet the thread running through this issue’s prose is one of human connection. In Candice Morrow’s “Touch,” a couple and a teenaged girl attempt, fail, and try again at creating connections with one another in an orbit around the couple’s infant daughter. The characters in Martin Cozza’s filmically perspected and aptly titled “Pennsylvania Polka” move toward each other, then away from and back again, in a heartbreaking kind of dance. Melissa Lambert, winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ 2009–10 Intro Journals Award, paints a rich portrait of a family’s nine children cleaving together as things come apart amid third-world poverty and despair. In Rachel Jackson’s essay “Hellcat Court,” the author, a “white, middle-class navy wife,” explores the push and pull of living in community with others. “Songs Primarily in the Key of Life,” an essay by Brian Kevin, tenderly re-examines the story of the Peoples Temple, a group whose members were  seeking a connection with others, through the critical review of a little-known album recorded by the cult in 1973. And in Anis Shivani’s interview with Dave Eggers, we hear about Eggers’ experience in writing Zeitoun, a book that details the arrest and imprisonment of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, an innocent man caught up in the chaos of Hurricane Katrina, a time when the New Orleans community came apart and the normal fabric of human connections was shredded.

Embrace those who seek out your company this summer, and then find a cool, quiet spot to enjoy this issue.

Featured in This Issue

Kelsey Bennett, Amaranth Borsuk, Tara Bray, Lily Brown, Arda Collins, Martin Cozza, Brett Defries, Dave Eggers, Kate Greenstreet, Michelle Hicks, Rachel Jackson, Brian Kevin, Nancy Kuhl, Melissa Lambert, Z. Cody Lee, Susan Maxwell, Derek Mong, Trey Moody, Candice Morrow, Daniel Poppick, Kevin Prufer, Elizabeth Robinson, Kyle Schlesinger, Anis Shivani, Justin Sider, BJ Soloy, Maren Vespia, Catherine Wagner, Joshua Ware, Rachel Zucker

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