Fall 1989, Volume 6.2
NEILA C. SESHACHARI
In a recent article in The New York Times Book Review, Jay Parini refers to literature as the "last great cottage industry," where every poem, every piece of fiction, every article, is "one-of-a-kind thing," crafted by hand. Even the word processor cannot change this, he notes. How true! If the word processor has contributed to the abundance of literary production of every kind, it has also made revision painless, even pleasurable. I like to believe that it has raised the aesthetic level of creative works and the level of discourse, even though my conviction is debatable. It has certainly raised every aspiring writer's productivity. One result of this high productivity is the number of good submissions that pour into journal offices. Even though one cannot publish them all, one likes them all in a strange way. The experience is like walking into a cottage industry boutique.
I am thus happy to be back after a six-month absence. Editors must have strange, ambivalent ties to their work. My total involvement with editorial work prompted me to take sabbatical leave, to get away, to do some critical writing of my own. One's writing of course is never fully done at any time, but I was ready to be back when the time came.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my colleague, Levi S. Peterson, for editing the journal in my absence. The excellent Spring 1989 issue speaks for itself. It collects into one handy volume the writing of some of Utah's best writers-a fitting tribute to Weber State College, which ended its year-long centennial celebrations in Spring and crowned the occasion with its grand commencement exercises in June.
A published journal often belies the effort that goes into its publication. The final product(ion) that is visible to the reader is made possible only through the dedicated services of a team of consulting editors and office staff that remain well nigh invisible. I would like to sincerely thank book review editor William Mulder and all the members of the editorial board for the prompt and competent evaluations of the works sent to them. I rely on their judgment more than they suspect; I love them more than they know. My love and thanks too to my assistants Linda R. Nimori and Lisa C. Dayton for heightening our own sense of pleasure in the office.
A couple of new developments will please our readers. This issue of the journal contains a cumulative index to the first six volumes. We decided not to wait until the tenth volume. The first three volumes of the journal have never been indexed anywhere; it was time we remedied that situation as quickly as possible.
The second development is perhaps one that will bring more gratification to our readers. In forthcoming issues, beginning with the Spring 1990 issue if possible, Weber Studies will publish original fiction by a writer of repute, followed by an interview with the author on her or his literary/ critical theories and practices. Ann Beattie, Alan Cheuse, and Ron Carlson will each appear in consecutive issues of the journal. We look forward to the event with great anticipation.
In the meantime, this issue of the journal has much to offer our readers. We bring you delightful poems by William Kloefkorn, Annie Finch, Allan Johnston, and Kathryn R. Ashworth. The two short stories included here are interesting and somewhat unusual. William R. Kanouse's "Procta and Gimble" illumines the predicament of two "senior citizens" who try desperately to hang on to a measure of dignity and meaning in their own lives and who endear themselves to us in the process, perhaps because they enable us to see ourselves in time. Gene Washington's "Qlpp" strums the strings of the mythic and mystical in our environment to lay bare our anxieties and our yearnings.
Rich Schweitzer's article on the "Wet Death Image" in World War I poetry traces the reversal of the predominantly life-giving and spiritually rejuvenating symbol of rain/water into one that spelled doom and death in new contexts raised by the war. Steven F. Walker reveals the "literal, autobiographical 'truth"' in R. K. Narayan's early novel, The English Teacher, while exploring the dimension of the Jungian anima and its "soul-making" function in the work. Sukhbir Singh argues that Saul Bellow creates, in his novels, a new "existential humanism" based on human integration, equality, and kinship.
A word about our cover illustrations, which always elicit warm and complimentary comments. They represent the best work submitted by WSC graphic design art majors who are assigned the specific task of designing Weber Studies covers. The discerning viewer and reader will no doubt recognize the nurturing influence of art editor' Mark Biddle in these works.