It’s that time of year again–changing seasons, Halloween, Thanksgiving, whatever. I’m talking about its being time for The Los Angeles Review’s fall issue!
This fall, it’s our 10th issue. That’s right: we’re in the double-digits, folks! And while I know I have a habit of declaring favorites among our editions, I really do think that Issue 10 is a standout among our publications over these past few years.
Because I co-edit poetry for LAR, I’m particularly pleased with the wide array of poetic voices we have in this issue. We have ekphrastic work from Terrance Hayes, beautiful formal pieces from Jennifer Givhan and Nick DePascal, knock-the-wind-outta-you poems from Benjamin Sutton and Colin Pope, impressive long poems from LaTasha Diggs and James Allman Jr., and quiet and tender poems from Brandon Courtney, Todd Kaneko, and David Wagoner. And that’s just the beginning. (I’m tempted to name every poet in the issue, but I’ll show some restraint.)
Perhaps my favorite part of putting together this issue was getting to know the issue’s honoree, Ishmael Reed. Mr. Reed is a lightning rod in the literary world not only for his writings but also for his incendiary, no-holds-barred political opinions, and I have to admit that, in the weeks and days leading up to my interview with Mr. Reed (which would become the foundation for the profile of him in Issue 10), I was intimidated. And given the high demand for his time and attention, I half-expected him to forget about our appointment–right in the middle of the AWP conference in Washington, DC–entirely. But he arrived to meet me, he was unfailingly gracious both to me and to everyone who happened to walk by the hotel sitting room where we sat to talk. Whether it was a writer who was walking off the hotel’s elevator or a hotel employee vacuuming the hallway, every person who walked past us got a warm “how’re you doing?” from Mr. Reed.
Literary folks like Ishmael Reed, who can be provocative and hard-hitting in their work and kind and generous with others in their lives, are a gift to the literary world. He’s not only an inspiration as a prolific writer, but a model citizen of the literary community. I hope to someday be as much, myself.