Here on the Mountain, we are by now well-settled into the rhythms of spring. New leaves green the trees but the mornings are raw. Returning birds briefly dot the branches with extra color. The sun’s beams, on cloudless days, pierce the chill but do not banish it. We are still wearing sweaters, at least until the afternoons, when we shed our extra layers. Graduation is around the corner. The pole tents are being erected; the stacks of foldout chairs are having their rows and aisles trued. It is worth reminding ourselves that next weekend, this occasion will be celebrated in person, in Sewanee’s All Saints Chapel. Like the current weather, this event’s normalcy is a great comfort, set against so much instability and change. I can’t help but wonder at the fact that reliability itself has become novel. This phenomenon has been very much on my mind as we share the spring issue with our readers, and it is no small thing to appreciate the fact that the Sewanee Review has been continuously published since 1892. Over the course of its one-hundred and thirty-one years, the fact that this quarterly has uninterruptedly reflected the culture through Letters—something I tried to play down when I first took over as editor—now seems nothing short of a miracle. It makes me even more determined to deliver to our readers the best writing in America—to remain a source of durability, consistency, and trustworthiness.
In that spirit, I am thrilled that this issue features our annual contest winners, and again we congratulate poet Sarah Ghazal Ali, fiction writer Grace Chao, and nonfiction writer Maureen Stanton. In another annual installment, poet and critic Christopher Spaide appraises the work of our 2022 recipient of the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry, Garrett Hongo, who also graces us with a new poem. We welcome first-time contributors to our pages, poet Corey Van Landingham and novelist Bethany Ball. Returning are regular contributors A. E. Stallings, Lily Meyer, and Alexander Maksik, as well as critic, memoirist, and fiction writer Justin Taylor. Former assistant editor Spencer Hupp reviews The Collected Translations of Seamus Heaney. Poet Monica Youn returns with a craft entitled Generative Writing: Beyond the Zero-Sum Game. In this season of (reliable) renewal, I hope you take comfort in the truth and beauty this new issue has to offer. And lest I fetishize this idea of dependability, I offer these lines from the poem that give this preview its title:
They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter.