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Letter from the Editors, Spring 2017, Issue 13: The Urban-Rural Issue

Dear readers,

Our country, and the stories we tell as a nation, have never been so divided. We live and work in cities, and our magazine likes to focus on the kinds of stories told in the urban setting, from urban elitism and kale-munching to the problems of urban poverty. But as the presidential election has showed us, we’re living in two countries these days, with two entirely different narratives. Our special themed issue aims to tackle this dichotomy between concentrated cityscapes and vast swathes of open land.

Poverty, hard-scrabble living, steady decline: these are the ideas haunting our authors’ stories, poems, and essays. There’s breathtaking natural beauty to see in our rural spaces, but also lives on the brink of ruin; generosity and shocking cruelty; joy and anger at our current situation. There’s the joy of driving the open road and the poison of gasoline; jobs evaporating and small-town morals called into question. We couldn’t be prouder of the ways this issue’s authors have engaged with the dark elements of the past and the way they continue to shape our present and future.

The essays, stories, and poems in this issue are about a way of life under siege. It is a way of life with its share of prejudices and injustice. But we believe that in this polarized time, the role literary magazines can play is to listen, and open up a difficult conversation about who has the right to tell their story. Whose story will you listen to today?

Happy reading!

Blair Hurley & Olivia Tandon

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