The first time I addressed you as editor-in-chief, New South was going through a period of profound change. Excited as I was to take over the reins, and naïve as I was about the many challenges involved in helming a University-sponsored literary journal, I was under the mistaken impression that this was a unique situation. What I know now is that this state of change is actually the defining characteristic of publications like New South—those run entirely by creative writing graduate students.
It seems impossible to me that it has been two years now since I took over the editor’s chair. I am incredibly proud of everything that we have accomplished in volumes 5 and 6. At the same time, I wish that I could stay longer and see the journal continue to grow from the perspective of that tiny, dusty office that feels so much like home. Of course, that’s not possible. Which is exactly as it should be. The great strength of graduate-run, University- sponsored literary magazines is the constant evolution of the masthead, the forced introduction of new perspectives, new aesthetics, new ideas about what the future of literary publishing can and will be. When I wrote my first letter to our readers, I was excited to tell you that we had an entirely new staff (but one). Beginning with the staff of issue 7.1, only a single member of that once new team will remain, and she will be your editor-in-chief.
This issue is in so many ways the culmination of what we set out to do when we took over New South. For the fourth issue in a row, we have a strikingly gorgeous cover and a beautiful 8-page spread of full color art to match. This time, photographer Shane Rocheleau brings us a series of vivid images of poverty, portraying homeless men and their surroundings with sadness and beauty. Also included this issue is a feature on one of the South’s finest writers, Jim Grimsley. In an exclusive interview with our fiction editor, Loukiano Stavrinos, Jim talks about his identity as a Southern writer, the future of literary publishing, and his thoughts on craft. Following that interview, we have an excerpt from his next novel which has yet to appear in print. It’s an honor to be able to showcase a writer like Jim Grimsley, a shining example of how a writer can achieve wider acclaim while still portraying the South with honesty and humility. I hope you enjoy reading Jim’s words as much as I have.
Finally, this issue contains the winners and runners-up from our 2013 writing contest. I’m particularly proud of this year’s winners. In the prose category, our winner is David Armstrong’s “Courier,” a story so deftly controlled, so gentle and moving that I dare you to make it through to the end without finding yourself on the verge of tears. The prose runners-up are “Melissa-My-Lissa” and“The Distance Between: A Lexicon,” two essays that use innovative forms to approach their subjects from unexpected angles, with richly rewarding results. In poetry, our winner, “Amber Alert” mines heartbreak and beauty from the image of a deer at the beginning of hunting season. The runner up, “Harvest,” transports us to a sumptuous spring in Sorrento, where the promise of ripe fruit may not yield quite what one expects.
I hope you enjoy the issue, and I hope that if you like what you see, you consider subscribing (or renewing your subscription for another year). There are great things in store for New South with its new staff. Under the leadership of former Production Editor, Jenny Mary Brown, this journal promises to go to some amazing places, places I would never be able to take it. I look forward to taking that journey with you again. This time, as an avid reader.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, NEW SOUTH