Issue No. 17, Spring 2007: New & Emerging Writers – Editor’s Introduction

Editor’s Introduction

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Issue 17

From the Guest Editor

It’s fair to say that the world treats most established writers pretty well; think of the university readings and book signings and, for the more fortunate, award money and extended stays in artists’ colonies, some of which offer the comforts and privacy of a first class resort.

But for struggling or emerging writers it’s another matter. Out in the “real world” their very presence is something of a puzzle. They may be a poet or fiction writer, but they have no books to prove it. They work jobs that don’t sound particularly literary—file clerk, waiter, parking lot attendant. Perhaps they’ve been published in several or more literary magazines, but until they publish a book they exist in a gray area. They’re working writers with no real status among readers or the literary community. The irony here—and it’s often a knotty, bitter irony—is that emerging writers, as they work their multiple jobs and struggle to complete their first poetry or story collection or novel, are often among the most dedicated and worthy of any writers, established or not.

With this issue of Natural Bridge we’ve devoted a special section to six emerging writers who we think are richly deserving of your readership. Here’s an opportunity to not only experience their work but to read their thoughts on the writing process.Yet even beyond these six chosen writers, we’ve selected what we believe to be a rich and compelling array of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

Natural Bridge is the literary journal of the University of Missouri—St. Louis MFA program. Each issue is compiled by a guest editor and a jury of wonderfully astute and committed graduate students from our writing program. They are listed as editorial assistants on the masthead of this issue, but they worked largely as equals and with great dedication and generosity. Here at Natural Bridge good works gets noticed. For all the struggling and emerging writers out there, this is a cause for hope.

John Dalton