Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the first issue of The Collagist!

It feels good to finally get to type those words, after the past several months of our working to make them worth the writing. Rather than risk going on too long about the reason for The Collagist—this is, after all, a friendly letter, not a manifesto—I'd rather get right to introducing the great work that fills these electronic pages:

In this debut issue, we've got new fiction by Chris Bachelder, Kevin Wilson, Kim Chinquee, and Matthew Salesses, plus an excerpt from Laird Hunt's forthcoming novel Ray of the Star. Charles Jensen, Oliver de la Paz, and Christina Kallery each contribute several new poems apiece. In non-fiction, Ander Monson provides an innovative personal essay in the form of an "assembloir," while David McLendon's essay relates his personal experiences with the master teacher, editor, and writer Gordon Lish, exploring the impact of Lish's mentorship on both his own writing and his everyday life. Lish's story "I'm Wide" (which originally appeared in his collection What I Know So Far) is also reprinted in this issue, which I hope you'll consider first as its own unique piece and then again, in tandem with McLendon's essay.

The Collagist's first book review section includes coverage of Terry Galloway's Mean Little Deaf Queer, Michal Ajvaz's The Other City, and Brian Evenson's Fugue State (written by Dawn Raffel, John Madera, and Ryan Call, respectively), as well as a video review of Jonathan Baumbach's You, or the Invention of Memory by Anna Clark.

Looking at this list of contributors, I am so blown away by the size of their talents, the scope of their accomplishments, by the potential of the future words each has yet to unleash upon the page. I can't thank these writers enough for gifting our debut issue with their words, and I truly hope you'll enjoy each and every piece collected here.

As long as I'm thanking people, I'd also like to mention some of those who made this first issue possible:

Steve Gillis and Dan Wickett at Dzanc Books, for extending their publishing venture past the printed page and onto the internet, and for allowing me the honor of editing this new publication. Dzanc was created to publish and promote literary writing, and, to me, The Collagist is in some ways a recognition of the fact that while their book publishing arm necessarily deals in full manuscripts, there is still a calling for Dzanc to find ways to publish and promote individual pieces by a wider population of emerging and established writers.

Matthew Olzmann, who agreed to be our poetry editor before there was even a mockup of the site to look at. His dedication and enthusiasm for his genre is evident in every e-mail he sends me, in every new submission he excitedly forward me to review. I've loved his choices so far, and look forward to reading each and every new poet he brings to my attention.

Steven Seighman, whose web design skills have impacted and improved the feel of The Collagist in ways impossible to fully quantify. I can't thank him enough for putting up with the million tiny changes I asked for, the million times I changed my mind.

Mary Gillis, whose copyediting and advice throughout these past few weeks was invaluable. She's a joy to work with, and her enthusiasm and good humor made the copyediting process an enjoyable final step in assembling this issue.

Lauren Walbridge, whose words you'll hopefully become familiar with as you come back and visit our blog through the coming month, where you'll be able to read her many interviews with our contributors. Her efforts are greatly appreciated, and I look forward to sharing her excellent interviews with you in the coming days.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't express my deep and sincere gratitude to the hundreds of writers who submitted work to us in the last two months. Matthew and I have greatly enjoyed reading your submissions, and have been impressed by the sheer avalanche of talent and ambition that has hit our inboxes. Thank you for trusting us with your work. I sincerely believe that the worth of any magazine can be measured by its readers and its potential contributors, and so you've already given us a great gift just by sending your work for our consideration. We hope those who have submitted already will do so again, and that those who were waiting until they saw what The Collagist would be will find this issue reason enough to send us their work. We've begun taking work for future issues already, so please, send away!

Finally, thank you for coming here today to read this first issue of The Collagist. We're truly grateful for you taking the time to read our magazine and the writing it contains. I've long thought that the online writing community, with all its diverse writers and readers and editors, is one of the most exciting and vital parts of the literary world. I'm very glad to be part of it in this new way.

Again, thank you! Again, welcome! I hope you enjoy reading this first issue as much as we've enjoyed selecting and editing it, and I hope you'll continue to come visit us regularly, as we'll have near-daily content on the blog as well as new issues of The Collagist on the fifteenth of every month.


Matt Bell
The Collagist