Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Gettysburg Review Online.
You may be as unwilling as I am to let go of the summer, but the Autumn 2015 issue is out and available for purchase. Consider it a harbinger of cooler weather to come as we slog through the dog days of summer, their stifling humidity, their soundtrack of cicada chirr.
In it you will find much compelling writing, including “Wonderbread,” the late Tom Cole’s essay-memoir about growing up beneath the long, heavy shadow cast by his father, David L. Cole, an eminent labor negotiator who served under the succession of presidents from FDR to Tricky Dick. The power that (sometimes powerful) father’s wield over sons, as well as a son’s struggle to wrest free, are themes shared by a few essays in this issue: In “October 15, 1969,” Tony Rogers writes about the difficulty he experienced as an adolescent desiring to take a public stand against the Vietnam War, something his then newly appointed Secretary of State father, William Pierce Rogers, recognized as a potential problem for him at work. Things take a curiously fundamentalist turn when Steven Huff reveals the effect that his father’s apocalyptic thinking had on his more literal-minded younger self during the Cold War years in “My Father’s Ark.” In “The Mountain,” Barret Baumgart graphically illustrates what happens when an enthusiastic but bumbling father decides to introduce his sons—who have different mothers and have not formally met—to one another during a hike on a hot, arid San Diego day...after eating a hearty and nutritious McDonald’s lunch.
Men, most of them of dads, continue to muck things up fictionally in stories by Kent Nelson, J. David Stevens, Stephanie MacLean, Zach VandeZande, and Nicholas Montemarano. The prose outliers are James McKean’s archival exploration of his grandmother’s stitching, and Laura Steadham Smith’s tale of an aging woman suffering from dementia who decides it’s time to go, and go she does.
I always feel guilty talking about poetry last, but each issue is truly a cornucopia of subjects and styles that offer wonderful diversions from and/or canny and surprising comments upon the prose that surrounds. A handful of my favorites are Hope Maxwell Snyder’s “My Father’s Letter,” which continues the depiction of a father’s ambiguous legacy, Marjorie Stelmach’s “In the Cave,” a powerful and sad assessment of a disorder decimating our bat population, Christopher Howell’s “Spring and All,” a poignant recognition of the importance of the melodramatic storm brought on by a teenage romance’s demise. There are more lyrical delights to be found in poems by David Wagoner, John Poch, Sherrie Horowitz, Richard Lyons, and Charles Harper Webb. Not to mention some wonderful paintings of the Italian countryside by Tom Glover.
Pour yourself a chill glass of prosecco or limoncello, or stir up a refreshingly bittersweet negroni, find a shady spot with an occasional breeze, crack open a copy of the Autumn issue, and enjoy. Cheers!
Digital Edition: In case you didn't get the memo, the Gettysburg Review is now available digitally in three formats: ePDF, which replicates the print version, ePub, and Mobipocket. The latter two are “reflowable” formats for use on e-readers and Kindle devices. You can purchase single copies and digital subscriptions at our Online Shop, but you can also find copies at 0s&1s and ShelfWise. Please, check it out and spread the word. And to those of you who are print loyal, don’t worry: we will continue to be primarily a print publication.
Pushcart Prize: In other big news, two essays and a short story from volume twenty-six have been selected for reprinting in The Pushcart Prize XL: Best of the Small Presses. Join us in congratulating Sarah Vallance (“Constance Bailey in the Year of Monica Lewinsky,” Winter 2014), Catherine Jagoe, (“A Ring of Bells,” Summer 2014), and Edward McPherson (“Telref,” Spring 2014) for being so richly and justly honored.
That’s it for now. We always like to hear from our readers, so please let us know what you think of the latest issue. If you are a user of social media, say hello and like us on Facebook. As always, thanks for your support, and keep reading.
Aviya Kushner’s first book, The Grammar of God: A Journey Into the Words and Worlds of the Bible, is out now from Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House.
Richly deserved congratulations to longtime Gettysburg Review contributor Leslie Pietrzyk, who has won the very prestigious 2015 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for her collection of short stories This Angel on My Chest, which will be published in the fall of 2015 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.