We’re lucky to have so many talented writers and artists share their work with us in this Summer 2017 issue. Many of these writers are veteran Kelsey Review contributors, with a few new names in the mix. The themes we see in these virtual pages are varied: our fiction includes Emma Ljung’s “Medium Smile” a story of temptation and longing; Jeanine Denitto’s slice-of-life about childhood, identity, and culture; Leonora Obed’s playful jaunt of a story that was inspired (in her own words) by “Fibonacci numbers, Jane Austen, and the Edinburgh University Quidditch Team;” and Ilene Dube’s piece about the “Summer of Sam,” which is really about so much more than that one murderous man.
Our poetry is truly a mosaic, ranging in style from the striking metaphors of Steve Smith, to the tautly crafted and imagistic pieces by long-time contributors Nancy Scott and Lavinia Kumar, to the more expansive pieces by Lauren Fedorko. Speaking of expansive, we are grateful to be able to include a piece of nonfiction by D.E. Steward, another writer who has been published in these pages (and many others) in the past.
I’m sure the same could be said for all of our issues, but while editing the pieces in this issue I was astounded by the wide-ranging styles and incredible talents of the writers and artists in the Mercer County community. Summer is often a time for writers and artists to get back to their creative center, a time to get inspired and to generate new work. So to all our readers who may also be artists of any stripe, I will leave you with the inspiring words from Lauren Fedorko’s poem “Someday I’ll Love Lauren Fedorko” (after the amazing contemporary poet Ocean Vuong’s poem in The New Yorker):
“There were artists who painted
the same subject for years until they got it right.
No one talks about their failures.”
So read these pieces, be inspired, and then apply that inspiration to your own life. Don’t be afraid of failure. As Samuel Beckett famously said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Or, if you, like me, are the parent of a toddler and tend to spend a little more time watching cartoons than reading Beckett, you may also heed these words, sung by the sage Daniel Tiger: “Keep trying, you’ll get better!” As artists, especially living in a moment that may feel unkind to the arts, we need to heed these words and not neglect our craft. Our work is important, and despite the many struggles we may be up against, individually and as a nation, we need to keep trying. This is our labor as artists, and if you’re lucky you just might be able to share the fruits of your labor with the world, as I get to do with the writers and artists published in this issue. Enjoy.
Jacqueline Vogtman, Editor