Natural Bridge No. 27 (right), the latest issue of the literary journal published by UMSL, is out now. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Each new Natural Bridge issue has already been read many times over before the University of Missouri–St. Louis literary journal reaches the hands of its subscribers. Issue No. 27, released last week, was no exception.

“This issue of Natural Bridge, like its predecessors, was edited by a bright, astute and energetic group of MFA (in Creative Writing) students (at UMSL),” guest editor Eamonn Wall noted in his introduction.

Wall, the Smurfit-Stone Corporation Endowed Professor in Irish Studies at UMSL, also pointed out that he and two students read through hundreds of writing submissions. They came up with a short list of finalists that are read over by the remaining 10 or so editors. A spirited debate ensued.

What makes the cut? What gets cut?

Wall said these deliberations could be intense, but often lightened by humor.

“Overall, I had the impression throughout the process that we were enjoying the work and each other’s company,” Wall wrote in Natural Bridge No. 27. “Of course, it is a privilege to be able to spend hours of time reading and discussing creative work, particularly with younger writers. As lovers of writing, we could ask for nothing more.”

The latest Natural Bridge is loaded down with new poetry and a handful of fiction and essay contributions. It is anchored by a three-part interview involving Kevin Wilson, a Natural Bridge contributor and author of the well-received novel “The Family Fang” and short-fiction collection “Tunneling to the Center of the Earth.”

Wilson recently spent time at UMSL through the MFA in Creative Writing program’s visiting writers’ initiative. He gave a reading, led a master class and met with the university’s creative writing students.

The three-part interview in Natural Bridge was designed to “illuminate the connections between author and editor, and author and reader.” Wilson, Lee Boudreaux (Wilson’s editor at his publisher Ecco) and reader Betsy Sandlin each fielded 10 questions on Wilson’s writing.

Visit the Natural Bridge website to subscribe to the literary journal.

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

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