Though I neglect this blog with a rigor that (from my point of view) ought to seem an admirable discipline in itself, the fact is that I get easily distracted by other things. One of those is the brainchild of an old friend from my days in the Florida writer's program. His name is Rick Barnett, who writes and teaches in Atlanta, and is now also the editor of a new, online literary review. He hired me on as assistant editor. The pay sucks.
Some of you might recall fragments posted here of a tribute to my old writing teacher, Smith Kirkpatrick, who died this summer. I've brought them all together in a long essay which you can find at the above link. A number of Smith's former students - some who came before me, some with me, others after - have also contributed their memories of what this man meant to them. They appear in a special features section given over to him. Even though none of you knew Smith, I think you can find something in these pieces to make you wish you had.
But there is also fiction to be found, a prize-winning story by prolific novelist Merrill Joan Gerber, who once studied with Smith under Andrew Lytle, and a masterpiece of the form by Smith himself, called "Silence", and reprinted by permission of his daughters, Anna Marie and Katie. It appeared originally in The Southern Review in 1968. There are essays by Paul Cella (on the spiritual crisis of modernity); by Lydia McGrew (a brilliant demolition of the "Irrational Faith of the Naked Public Square"); and even a contribution by the eminent Marion Montgomery, friend to Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, etc.
There is also poetry of great variety in voice and vision.
What Rick and I hope (from my portion of the editors' introduction) is that "...all readers...find somewhere in these pages a place of rest, a point of insight or exhilaration, a sign of hope and grace, some encouragement that the life of letters, and of all art, still has a message to bear in the bloodstream of our society; and that, in the hands of good men and women, it might yet remain one of the higher gestures of love for our fellows."
Oh. We'd also appreciate your linking to it.