After six decades as a prominent print journal, Washington and Lee's acclaimed literary journal Shenandoah is available at shenandoahliterary.org. The digital version - Volume 62, Number 2, is now online. The homepage also includes a Poem of the Week, an Archive Feature of the Month, audio files of contributors reading their work, an essay on featured artist, William Dunlap; brief and extended reviews and a rotating series of 100 arresting quotations. Those seeking information about submissions, prizes and the publication's history - from Tom Wolfe through Flannery O'Connor and W. H. Auden up to Rita Dove and Charles Wright- will find a wealth of information on the site. Further links reveal a description of the WLU English Department's Internship in Literary Editing program, along with comments by both the winter 2013 interns and recent graduates. All aspects of the journal are interactive and invite reader comment. Finally, Shenandoah's blog "Snopes" will introduce provocative topics and encourage readers to engage in discussion. Bloggers will include staff members, interns and special guests.
For over half a century Shenandoah has been publishing splendid poems, stories, essays and reviews which display passionate understanding, formal accomplishment and serious mischief.
Founded in 1950 by a group of Washington and Lee University faculty and students, Shenandoah has achieved a wide reputation as one of the country's premier literary magazines. Work from the magazine's pages has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best American Poems, Best American Essays, Best American Spiritual Writing, The O'Henry Prize, New Stories from the South and The Pushcart Prize, as well as numerous other anthologies and quite literally thousands of collections by the original authors. Recent issues have featured Pulitzer winners Natasha Trethewey, Claudia Emerson and Ted Kooser, as well as fiction by James Lee Burke, George Singleton, Alyson Hagy, Chris Offutt, Bret Anthony Johnston and Pam Durban.
“A Turkey Hunter’s First Shot”:
A Look into Allison Glock’s Turkey Hunt in Garden & Gun
I am standing between rows and rows of palmetto bluff pines. My ears are open to the crackling chirps of crickets, as they stretch out their legs, and I can feel the strap of the Benelli rubbing through my camouflage shirt against my collarbone. This is the picture that Allison Glock has painted for her readers in her article in the 2012 February/March issue of Garden & Gun.
I live in a household which devotes an entire closet to camouflage suits, insulated rubber boots plus a number of turkey calls, and April means one thing to my family—turkey season. In Virginia, gobbler hunting begins April 12th and runs until May 17th, with the exception of Youth Hunt Day on April 5th. Though my roots are down in South Carolina, I know what this short time span means to many Virginians. For hunters, the month brings the morning excitement of setting up against a tree with a box call and then waiting for turkeys as the rest of the forest begins to wake up. For the children of hunters (I fall into this category), this month means choosing to wake up on a Saturday morning rather than sleeping in, learning the precise angle of a striker on a slate call, and hoping that all the target practice in March paid off.
In “A Turkey Hunter’s First Shot,” Glock interviews turkey hunting legend, Jay Walea. With a descriptive account of her turkey hunt and a new-formed friendship with Walea, Glock forgoes the conventional interview style and conveys the true turkey hunting experience to her readers—even for those who wouldn’t know a tom from a jake.
The article portrays the turkey hunt with such descriptive narration from the outdoorsman himself that the reader is practically on the hunt as well. At one point, Walea says, “You hear the flying squirrels peeping. You’ll hear a screech owl once or twice. The first little birds to chirp are the redbirds. Watching everything come alive. I love that.” Many writers would embellish the atmosphere of the woods or the serenity of the morning, but in Walea’s account there is no exaggeration. Unlike a writer, a turkey hunter wouldn’t normally comment on dewdrops on leaves or thickening pines. A turkey hunter focuses on sounds, because after all, they’re listening for the gobblers. Because the interview directly quotes its subject’s exact words, his depiction of the morning is precise, efficient, concentrated on the necessary.
Glock not only relays the beauty of the woods, but also goes beyond the impersonal, by forming an authentic relationship with Jay Walea. Of all the interviews I have read, given and seen, whether in a fitness magazine or on the Today Show, the majority of interviewers stick to basic, objective conversation, keeping their subjects at distance. However, she makes an honest effort to really know and understand Walea; Glock moves past his appearance and background to a more intimate level where she describes his words and actions, and even eats dinner with his family. At one point towards the end of the story, when Glock has mixed emotions about killing her first turkey, she writes, “Walea looks at me with pity. He takes a deep breath, finds my eye again, and says softly, ‘I’ve cried too.’” Then, the hunter hugs the writer, who has formed such a sound friendship with Walea that he admits crying shooting an animal before, and in return, she conveys that sentiment to the reader. Glock’s article goes beyond the superficial interview and treats her subject as a friend rather than an assignment.
Glock’s “Turkey Hunter’s First Shot” is an outstanding piece of writing because it uses expressive language and a personal relationship to help non-hunting readers understand the experience of stalking, calling and shooting. While not a candidate for great hunting literature, Glock’s piece is far more vivid than casual journalism.
Interested in Glock’s article? Follow the link—
After reading a New Yorker article that questions the dwindling presence of bookstores, I began to reminisce on my childhood bookstore. I begged my mother every day to take me to the bookstore. Buying a book was much more satisfying to me than checking a book out at my school library—I got to keep the treasured story on my bedside table instead of returning it to the librarian and had the ability to reread the intriguing plotline whenever I wanted.
Upon entering my bookstore, I entered a haven—a comforting atmosphere surrounded by thrilling tales of adventure that captivated my adolescent minds. The employees greeted me with welcoming smiles, and I bee-lined for the children’s section, selecting as many books that I could fit in my arms, plopping down in the middle of the bookshelves on the carpeted floor, spreading out the books, admiring the eye-catching covers. The fresh stories dawned beautiful pictures on crisp pages; I buried my nose into the binding to inhale that fresh new bookstore smell (everyone knows and loves that smell—there’s no denying it). I had an allegiance to my bookstore—feeling guilty if I visited another location to buy a book. The New Yorker article states, “Those of us who cherish our local bookstores do so not simply because they are convenient—how great to be able to run out for milk and also pick up the new Karl Ove Knausgaard!—but also because we feel a duty to support them, because we believe in their mission.” It was about more than just the book—it was about the whole experience. The bookstore fostered my love for literature at an early age. The nurturing environment encouraged reading, which made me feel comfortable among the books. From there I jumped into stories that kept me interested in books. From E.B. White to Judy Blume to J.K. Rowling—my passion for literature grew with each visit.
Today’s diminishing presence of bookstores makes me nervous. My childhood bookstore went out of business eight years ago. The vacant building broadcasts a dusty “For Rent” sign collecting dust on the milky, dirty windowpanes. The market for books is changing. The rise of the Internet and online shopping carves a convenient path for delivering books directly to my front door. But where is the experience in that? The bookstore environment encourages a love for the text, for the characters, for the author. The experience is irreplaceable—strolling through the shelves, observing colorful book covers, searching for the desired author. It’s lugging an armful of books to the counter. It’s carrying a new story out of the store. It’s bending the corners of pages. It’s inhaling the unique smell. The welcoming atmosphere encourages reading; the bookstores foster a love for literature within the minds of children.
I believe in the mission of bookstores. I believe in creating a pleasant domain where children feel comfortable diving into a book, expanding their imaginations through exciting plotlines. I believe in promoting the importance of children’s literature, for it stands as the platform from which children cultivate a greater love for reading, expanding their palate through adult literature that spans from different centuries and continents. Instilling a love for literature at an early age fosters a lifelong love for it within our children. Despite society’s technological advances in the book world, there is still a need for bookstores.
Where do you stand? What cultivated your love for literature? What happened to your childhood bookstore?
Thank you for your overwhelming response. The Bevel Summers Contest is now closed.