I am so honored and excited that I got to be part of the River & South Review team this year. When I first approached Dawn Leas, our editorial advisor, about joining the team, I initially thought of my hectic schedule: a varsity soccer coach, junior high basketball coach, Newspaper Club and Yearbook advisor, devoted Rotarian, along with pursuing my MA and MFA degrees, not to mention my hope of keeping some semblance of a social life. I wanted to gain an understanding of this mysterious publishing world though and volunteered to be a reader. Shortly after, Dawn told me that I was recommended to be the Managing Editor, which I accepted gratefully but also with a sense of child-like wonder.

Each member of our staff is on the path of earning their MA or MFA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University, so all of us really have full plates. However, this didn’t stop us. As we read, we thought back to our classes and all of the time that went into analyzing and evaluating texts. The conversations we had discussing pieces were truly enriching, and while at times, some of us disagreed, overall, we had a sense of understanding in what we felt was good literature, sometimes shocking or unprecedented, but nevertheless, inspiring, stunning, and unforgettable in each piece’s own way.

Another aspect I loved while working on this team was getting advice from guest editors from other literary magazines. One idea that stuck with me the most was the idea of being taken away by the craft of the piece. Whether we are story tellers, poets, journalists, or some mix, we must remember the real reason we are here: to discover and share the best literature we could find. Both the beautiful and dark, the explicit and ambiguous. We had to put aside our personal taste and comfort in our writing genres and evaluate each piece for its own worth and uniqueness. I feel that our staff did a phenomenal job with achieving that.

I want to thank all of them for their tireless hours of work in preparation for this project and issue. For many of us, this was our first year on the team, and it was a new experience for us, learning as we went, thankful for our editorial advisor, Dawn Leas. I want to thank you so much for your patience, support, and guidance as we all undertook this endeavor. I also would like to thank the genre editors, Jennifer Tarr (CNF), Jake Cannington (Fiction), and Caitlin Downs (Poetry). I appreciate your willingness to listen to the team’s thoughts but also take charge and provide such specific and critical commentary on each piece in your genres. Thank you to our readers, Wayne Benson and Tyler Miles. A special shout out and thank you to some other special and important behind the scenes team members: Danah Lassiter, Production and Design Editor; Danie Watson-Goetz, Social Media Editor; and Toni-Lyn Sorger, Proofreader. Without you three, this project would not have run as smoothly as it thankfully did. And finally, but certainly not least, thank you to Bonnie Culver, director and co-founder, and Bill Schneider, associate director, of the Maslow Family Graduate Program. This issue would not be possible without all of the support of these amazing team members.

When asked what I was looking for in the pieces at the start of this process, I said that I was looking for works that were imaginative and that made me need to read more. I wanted to include pieces that stuck with me long after I had finished reading them. I am confident that there is a piece for everyone in this edition. I want to thank all of the people who had the courage to submit their pieces. Whether accepted or not, all of the stories and poems I was privileged to read through this experience have shaped me or my perception of the writing world in some way. I am honored to have been on this team and am confident that you will find these pieces as intriguing and inspiring as I have.

Amanda Cino
Managing Editor
River & South Review