Letter from the Editor, Spring 2019
Joseph M. Reynolds
Letter from the Editor—Spring 2019
We exist. The fall has become the spring, and we still exist--it is triumph in the utmost in literature. I suppose there are many other endeavors in which sanctity is found simply in continuing to be, but none so much as literature; our projects remain even as we fade away, and even the noblest chef doesn’t get to say that about his quiche. We must simply continue to complete our projects to earn this eternity, but we must also realize that while existence is everything, it is also the only thing we ever get. We are never ratified by praise or approbation, for as soon as we complete a work, we are beset by, as Thomas Wolfe so elegantly articulated it, “the fool-bigotry, fool-ignorance, fool-cowardice, fool-faddism, fool-mockery, fool stylism, and fool-hatred for anyone who was not corrupted and beaten, and a fool had either quenched the hot, burning passion with ridicule, contempt, denial, and oblivion, or else corrupted the strong with the pollutions of fool-success.” Wolfe died at 37, a genius in full and fully incomplete. What he did finish remains, unpolluted and unvarnished, by both decay and praise. New Square is a forum for this brand of existence, and for fools to argue about which pieces were best, and for the work to have somewhere to endure even after we fools have contradicted ourselves for the last time.
In the fall, it was both surprising and humbling to receive submissions for the inaugural issue from Ireland, Scotland, England, and France, in addition to all corners of America. In the spring, we’re augmenting the open submission process with some direct invites to writers we admire, and on a personal note, it is a grand honor to be able to feature the work of the two most profound mentors of my adult life and career—Da Chen and Dr. Leonard Engel—in this issue.
Next fall, each of our review sections will feature essay contests in which people make impassioned pleas for projects they love—we’ll choose two to three per section for publication, and the rest will be posted on our website (lest we fool judges restrict discourse with our fool judgments), and we hope that all of our students, staff, writers, and readers will participate. My own output is never quite as abundant as it should be, perhaps in part because even the completion of these little letters feels like an uproarious triumph, and I suppose that’s as good an excuse as any, at least for right now.
Personal Acknowledgements--I want to specifically (and in print) thank the masthead editorial staff—Kevin Carr, Sean Forbes, Thomas Keith, David Kresge, Erica Lauer, Amber Smith, and Cassandra Steele, who have all worked on this project with immense talent and without any compensation (I bought a pizza once, but I honestly ate most of it myself). I want to also thank Sam Marx, a former student of mine and new Sancho Panza Literary Society member, who stepped in and helped us complete the digital edition.