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Shenandoah – Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 issue of Shenandoah features fiction by Rachel Heng, Nathan Poole, Xhenet Aliu, and more; poetry by Samyak Shertok, Stephanie Rogers, Diane Seuss, Ashley M. Jones, John Kinsella, Jen Schalliol Huang, and others; and nonfiction by Leslie Jernegan, J.D. Ho, Lynette Benton, Mason Andrew Hamberlin, and Sarah Beth Childers.

Shenandoah – Fall 2003

Civil war buffs will particularly enjoy this Fall 2003 issue of Shenandoah as it features a portfolio of twenty-three poems about the Civil War. It also showcases nonfiction, short fiction, poetry, and book reviews; many of the pieces have in common a sense of restraint, almost an old-fashioned polite reserve.

Work here is on the formal rather than the experimental side. I enjoyed Paul Zimmer’s amusing nonfiction piece “The Commissioner of Paper Football” and Mark Doty’s lyrical poem “Fire to Fire,” which begins:  “All smolder and oxblood, / these flowerheads, / flames of August: / …the paired goldfinches / come swerving quick / on the branching towers, // so the blooms / sway with the heft / of hungers…”

Overall a satisfying read, especially those who like Southern regional flavor; there were quite a few contributors from the state of Virginia and its environs. One note for fans: the editor writes that this journal will now be appearing three times a year instead of four.

[Shenandoah, Washington and Lee University, Troubadour Theater, 2nd Floor, Box W, Lexington, VA, 24450-0303. shenandoahliterary.org]

Shenandoah Volume 53 Number 3, Fall 2003 reviewed by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Shenandoah Takes on the Whys and Whatfors

Two great back-to-back posts on Snopes: A Blog for the Shenandoah Journal : “Why I Write, and Why I May Not Hve a Choice in the Matter” by nash16 (Emma Nash?) and “The Power of Storytelling” by Anna Kathyryn Barnes.

Nash and Barnes both question the value and importance of writing and storytelling. Nash references Orwell’s essay, “Why I Write” as well as Alice W. Flaherty’s book The Midnight Disease which explores of the neurological reasons for the ‘need’ to write.

Barnes takes on the questions of why what we write matters, whether or not stories have a point or make any change in the world. Big questions, to be sure, but she calls upon Chimnmanda Adichie’s TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” which supports the need for many stories in our lives. Barnes then connects this with The Facing Project, “a national non-profit organization that works with communities to connect through storytelling over a particular challenge or social issue.” Her work with The Facing Sexual Violence Project combines the networking organization with her value of storytelling in an effort to address sexual violence in Rockbridge County, VA.

Both of these essays pose and respond to critical questions writers ask themselves time and again and together they make an excellent starting point for discussion and call to action. Snopes  has the helpful feature of print and PDF options on each of their blog posts, so these make it easy to assign as online reading that students to print and bring along to class.

Shenandoah – Spring/Fall 2010

This issue is a tribute to Flannery O’Connor. Eleven essays are accompanied by the work of 11 short story writers, more than a dozen poets, 7 visual artists, a book review, and a series of O’Connor’s letters in their original forms. Photographs by Kathleen Gerard of O’Connor’s residence, Andalusia, are marvelous with their intricate shadows and acute sense of place. I had never really wanted to visit this site until I saw these photos.

Continue reading “Shenandoah – Spring/Fall 2010”

Shenandoah Update

A letter sent out by Editor R.T. Smith to Shenandoah subscribers:

I am writing to inform you that Shenandoah is approaching a crossroads which to some degree reflects the broader evolution in the world of publishing. You may have already read on our website that the magazine will cease publishing as a print journal and will expand its presence on-line. By the end of 2011 our website will be the sole location of the journal, where it will be available to all on a non-fee basis, though we hope to incorporate additional features available only to those with unexpired subscriptions. All physical issues going back 15 years and continuing into this winter will still be available for purchase.

Though this evolution will involve significant changes in format, the features which I believe to be Shenandoah’s essence will remain: artful and memorable poems, stories, essays and reviews from all comers of the literary community; a pleasing and stimulating design, provocative inquiry into the on-going chorus that is contemporary writing and our signature brand of serious mischief. As editor, I will continue to seek accomplished and fresh work to maintain our balance between the traditional and the experimental. We’ve already altered our web page to offer a hint of the future, and in 2011 we’ll feature a blog called “Snopes.”

Our fall/winter issue will be a standard perfect-bound magazine, and in the spring of 2011 we will release a limited edition anthology of Shenandoah poetry from 1995 to 2010. This anthology will be sent to all whose subscriptions extend to spring of 2011, and additional copies will be available. I hope that subsequent anthologies will eventually become feasible.

While many of us harbor divided minds about the dwindling of the physical print medium, I’m enthusiastic about the possibilities -from audio presentations to ease of access and extended audience and more frequent updates -presented by this brave new world of the Internet. The increased involvement of Washington and Lee students will be an asset in this changing environment, and we intend to launch our new identity with a fall 2010 on-campus panel of editors discussing the changing landscape of literary publishing. Our first digital issue will publish the proceedings of that conversation.

There is further good news. Shenandoah will continue to give honoraria and awards to its writers, and national prize anthologies have now begun to recognize the work in on-line journals. Publication on-line now counts as a legitimate credential towards qualifying for N.E.A. fellowships, so the territory we are entering is not hostile to serious literature. I believe it is becoming quite hospitable and that accomplished writers have already begun to recognize this. I thank you for your loyalty in the past, invite you to join us in this new adventure built on our sixty-year history and urge you to visit our Face book page beginning in October as we prepare to move into a new era.


The cover (“Posted”) of this issue is a starkly beautiful oil painting of late fall/early winter, a house and grounds in the backcountry west of the Blue Ridge mountains, painted by Barry Vance. In the middle of the journal is a portfolio of his utterly marvelous work, “Dwelling in the Backcountry,” seven paintings accompanied by excerpts of the work of writers, past and current, of the region (Billy Edd Wheeler, John O’Brien, Matilda Houstoun, Charles Wright, Wendell Berry, Louise McNeill, Ann Pancake). The work is from a recent exhibition of 24 paintings of the Potomac Highlands, and together with the literary selections, “express sentiments nurtured by the life of the backcountry,” writes Vance. These paintings are uncanny in their blending of elements that are both lush, yet finely etched, so that the paintings are focused, yet somehow dense; colorful, yet often stark; dreamy, yet realistic; precise, yet textured. They evoke a particular and unique atmosphere with a kind of palpable certainty of sensation. And they are simply exquisite. I couldn’t stop turning to them again and again. Continue reading “Shenandoah”

Shenandoah Shifts to Online Only

“This spring, Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review, celebrates one milestone and prepares for another. First comes the 60th anniversary issue of the journal, a tribute to writer Flannery O’Connor. And then comes a change, when Shenandoah shifts from print to Web.” Shenandoah’s attitude is upbeat, seeing the shift as one that will help them better meet their publishing needs (the last issue having hit 300 pages). Established writers will continue with the publication, but the first online issue to launch in 2011 will also allow Shenandoah to introduce new content: “Other facets of this ongoing Web conversation will be such features as songs, artwork and photography, as well as videos of poets reading their verse and authors discussing their stories.”

Shenandoah – Fall 2009

As usual there are great poems and stories in the latest issue of Shenandoah, though I must say that the two essays, Jeffrey Hammond’s engaging “My Father’s Hats, and a wrenching must-read by Shari Wagner, “Camels, Cowries & A Poem for Aisha,” about harrowing conditions in Somalia, are stand-outs. Set within the frame of a memoir, Jeffrey Hammond’s essay, “My Father’s Hats,” is an entertaining history of the hat, beginning with the snug pilos, the Greek name for a common, helmet-shaped cap made of felt. I sat at my computer as I read, Googling the names of hats as Hammond’s prose moved through the centuries. Continue reading “Shenandoah – Fall 2009”

CFS :: Shenandoah Celebrates Flannery O’Connor

Shenandoah announces the celebration of the journal’s 60th anniversary with a special issue centering on the works of Flannery O’Connor. The editor seeks essays, poems, short stories, reviews, photographs and other artwork about, related to or in honor of the fiction and life of Ms. O’Connor.

Deadline: October 1, 2009

A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the best O’Connor-related work published in the issue, which is planned for fall 2010. See website for complete details.

Shenandoah – Fall 2008

“All I can say is what I do myself, and that is that I don’t think about theory at all. I have no theory of poetry. If something works for a particular poem, it works.” Brendan Galvin in this interview with Thomas Reiter, is honest, approachable, serious, sincere, much like this issue of Shenandoah and like his poems, several of which are included here. Reiter’s own poem, “Signaling,” which appears later in the issue, is a fine example, quiet, deftly composed, sure of itself, but in a vulnerable, human way. These poets are joined by more than a dozen others this issue, along with five short stories, two essays, a portfolio of beautifully composed color photographs by Larry Stene, the journal’s typically superb reviews of new poetry and fiction, and brief remarks in memory of the late George Garrett. Continue reading “Shenandoah – Fall 2008”

Shenandoah – Fall 2007

A long poem by Wendell Berry, entitled “Sabbaths 2005,” opens this issue of Shenandoah. The poetry is exquisite, capturing what Berry refers to as “moments of pure awareness.” In the interview that follows, Birkin Gilmore engages the poet in an entertaining (for the reader at least) game of verbal dodgeball as he tries to get Berry to elaborate on his subject matter. Berry skillfully avoids most of the questions with responses like, “If [art is] any good, it’s happening pretty far beyond the sort of scrutiny that interviewers’ questions suggest.” Continue reading “Shenandoah – Fall 2007”

Shenandoah – Winter 2006

Is it me or have Shenandoah’s covers gotten hipper and hipper? Vibrant full-page paintings, an enormous guitar, now a haunting neon-red vintage Billiards sign—finally covers as bold as the contents. George Singleton goes wild with a 25-word title to his story about a religious group who print Revelations on their trailers for weather protection (“everyone took to insuring them with the Good Book”). Mixing his trademark humor and imagination, this brilliant critique-of-Southern-culture-studies-gone-wild leaves you grinning like a madman. Continue reading “Shenandoah – Winter 2006”

Shenandoah – Fall 2006

American folk music enthusiasts will want to check out this issue devoted to traditional music of the Appalachian region. It includes interviews with Janette Carter and Mike Seeger, whose families have long performed and preserved mountain music and culture. Other essays highlight the careers of fiddlers J.P. Fraley and Tommy Jarrell, as well as guitarist and singer Elizabeth Cotten. Among the poems in this volume, several honor particular performers (Jeffrey Harrison’s “Homage to Roscoe Holcomb” and Ron Rash’s “Elegy for Merle Watson”), while others evoke the songs themselves (Candice Ward’s “Ballad Child” and George Scarbrough’s “The Old Man”), or explore their power over listeners (Judy Klass’ “Conundrum and Fiddle” and “The Tao of Twang” and John Casteen’s “Insomnia”). An excerpt from the novel Fiddler’s Dream (SMU Press, 2006), about a young musician who wants to play bluegrass and find his missing musician father, amply demonstrates Gregory Spatz’s ability to write lyrically about music and music makers. Continue reading “Shenandoah – Fall 2006”

Shenandoah – Spring/Summer 2005

This issue features a “Portfolio of Appalachian Poets,” which includes poems by 34 regional writers. The Appalachian’s most celebrated poet, Charles Wright, is front and center, followed by established and lesser known names who explore subjects explicitly linked to the region (landscapes, family life, flora and fauna, the “local characters,” mining, regional landmarks), and others from anywhere and everywhere (love, the loss of love; love, the loss of love). There is a pleasing mix of modes, styles, and tones and all of the work is strong. I was particularly taken with work by Lynn Powell, Michael Chitwood, and Cathryn Hankla. Continue reading “Shenandoah – Spring/Summer 2005”

Shenandoah – Winter 2003

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. Continue reading “Shenandoah – Winter 2003”