Reliably excellent, Shenandoah delivers in this issue all that you expect – big names, solid writing, earnest essays – an overall package flavored with its slight regional tang. However, let it not be said that Shenandoah clings to the “merely” regional, as writers from farther afield – including, in this issue, Marvin Bell, David Wagoner, and Mary Oliver – crop up on a regular basis. In this issue, besides the usual offerings, you’ll find the AWP Intro Journals Project Award winners in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
A surprise I found within these august pages was the short, charmingly fresh essay “On Rejection” (a subject, sadly, near and dear to my own heart) by Bret Anthony Johnston, comparing the writer trying to get published with the beginning skateboarder trying not to eat pavement - an analogy I don’t hear often enough in classrooms. His quotations from various rejection slips were hilarious and will be strangely familiar to any aspiring writer.
I also loved the art work by Suzanne Stryk, which featured feathers, nests and other bird-related artifacts in symbolic patterns and displays. [Shenandoah, Washington and Lee University, Troubadour Theater, 2nd Floor, Box W, Lexington, VA 24450-0303. E-mail: . http://shenandoahliterary.org] – JHG