It is always a challenge to put together a new issue of River & South Review. Each of us reads every submission. We discuss the pieces carefully, narrowing it down to just a few. The past three issues have also held the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. For our last issue, the submissions were subdued, melancholy, with a thin layer of hope beneath the murk, a reflection of how people were feeling during the quarantine. As I write this in May of 2021, over a year after the first quarantines in the U.S., the CDC has just lifted the mask mandates for vaccinated adults. Life is beginning to return to “normal.”  

But the world has changed in the past year. A number of greater concerns have risen to the surface in our country. Many of the submissions we received this time reflected on issues of racism, police brutality, and a lack of connection between people. The result is a collection of pieces that address some of the problems we are currently facing in our society. These can seem overwhelming at times, but it’s important to remember the thin layer of hope that existed even during the COVID-19 quarantine. Hope is still there now. The world is still changing. It’s up to all of us to make sure it changes for the better.

I’m very proud of our team for all the hard work they did to bring this issue to fruition. I would like to thank our genre editors, who each led passionate discussions. Poetry editor, Wayne Benson, creative nonfiction editor, Mildred Mills, and fiction editor, Juton Myers, used their knowledge and experience in their genres to provide valuable commentary on every piece.  

I enjoyed working with production and design editor Jason Miller again for this issue. I want to thank him for bringing the collection of pieces together into the finished product you see here. I also want to thank proofreader, Roni Teson, who combed through each piece to ensure there were no errors.  

I am also very grateful to our readers, Michael Hardin, Caroline Hayduk, Jonathan Lawrence, and Lydia Poer. I was overjoyed to hear their individual reactions and thoughts about each piece. It’s not easy reading through all of our submissions and narrowing each genre down to just a few pieces. Thank you for all your hard work.

I want to thank our editorial advisor, Dawn Leas, who is always the wind in our sails. She keeps us all on task from before the submission window opens until the day the issue goes live. We couldn’t do it without her.

Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. David Hicks, director of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing, and Patti Naumann, the program’s administrative assistant. Without their support, this issue wouldn’t be possible.

I’m truly honored to be part of such an extraordinary team and such an incredible graduate program.

Thank you all.

Jake Cannington
Managing Editor
River & South Review